I am trying following a book (Mastering Emacs) and right now stuck on a section about working with Helm. I tried to install through various means, listed there, and found online, my last attempt was with "straight.el" package manager. My current init.el file has only 1 line related to the helm, which is

(straight-use-package 'helm)

After restarting and seeing that there were no issues on launch, I tried to call basic helm command, helm-M-x and i got an error.

Symbol’s value as variable is void: while-no-input-ignore-events

Which I also had when trying to install the helm through regular "package-install". I went for helm wiki and found the trick after installing about opening the terminal, going to the helm folder inside .emacs.d, and trying to launch the terminal command 'emacs-helm.sh'. I tried so and got back

emacs-helm.sh: command not found

in both Emacs and outside Ubuntu terminals. I tried also to sudo snap install helm --classic, but installing helm through it didn't help, the command was still not "found". From my understanding, if "emacs-helm.sh" doesn't work that's the starting point that should be attempted to be fixed. Can someone recommend how to deal with this issue and what should be my logic when I am trying to debug such problems with packages?

2 Answers 2


This might be a workaround for an underlying bug, but adding this to my .emacs fixed this for me:

(setq while-no-input-ignore-events '())

  • 1
    Thanks. You made my day XD
    – NAND
    Aug 18, 2021 at 19:16

If you are a new user of Helm, then you can find new set of manuals here https://emacs-helm.github.io/helm/doc/index.html.

I found the manuals to be bit dry, and little unorganized. However, they cover lots of ground.

If you would like to browse the manual from within Emacs, download the tar file located at https://emacs-helm.github.io/helm/doc/helm-static-pages.tar. Once you untar it, you will see a bunch of info files in the doc/ directory. You can browse the info files with C-u C-h i doc/helm.info

These Helm manuals are very new, and they were announced in the Emacs Tangents mailing list a month or so ago. Here is the link to the announcement https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-tangents/2021-05/msg00001.html.

Since the manuals are new, it is possible that Helm's github repo has an improved set of these.

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