I am trying to read the Emacs Lisp Intro inside Emacs. I am following the advice on Emacs wiki:

Read the Emacs Lisp Introduction: EmacsLispIntro. Use ‘C-h i’ (‘info’), then choose ‘Emacs Lisp Intro’. You can also read this manual on the Web or as a portable epub book.

Unfortunately, after pressing C-h i, I can find options such as Magit and Slime. However, I cannot find anything about ‘Emacs Lisp Intro’. I know I can read the Introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp, written by Robert J. Chassell, on the web. But I would like to read it inside Emacs.

Why I cannot find it? How can I fix this?

UPDATE: I am using Ubuntu 20.04. Surprisingly, this is relevant.


  • 3
    If you're running Debian or a derivative (which might include Ubuntu), the docs are distributed in a separate package for licensing reasons
    – Tyler
    Jul 15, 2021 at 1:35
  • 4
    Does this answer your question? emacs' internal documentation missing info?
    – Tyler
    Jul 15, 2021 at 2:31
  • 1
    FYI if it's installed then C-h i g (eintr) should also show it.
    – phils
    Jul 15, 2021 at 2:50
  • @phils, thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, I receive an "info file eintr does not exist" Jul 15, 2021 at 14:14
  • 3
    Ubuntu is just one of many distributions based on Debian's packages, and I think the solution will be the same for all of them.
    – phils
    Jul 15, 2021 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


In order to solve this, I used the least upvoted answer here. These are the original instructions:

1 - Download https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/info/elisp.info.gz to your /usr/share/info directory.

2 - From a terminal run update-info-dir command.

3 - From emacs C-h i m Elisp (capital E).

Obs.: I was not able to download it directly to /usr/share/info using just GUI. So, I downloaded it on Downloads folder and then on root I did:

/$ sudo mv home/pedro/Downloads/elisp.info.gz usr/share/info/emacs/

/$ sudo update-info-dir 

Notice that I inserted the file on usr/share/info/emacs/ instead of the original instruction which used just usr/share/info/

  • 4
    If you've installed Emacs via the OS package, you should install the manuals via the OS package as well. It probably won't make very much difference for the elisp intro manual, but in general if you grab the latest manual from gnu.org but install Emacs itself using OS packages, then you're running the risk of installing the manual for a different version of Emacs than the one you have installed.
    – phils
    Jul 15, 2021 at 14:49
  • 2
    Distributions usually ship older (stable) versions than the official, bleeding edge ones, often with local tweaks/localizations/patches. That includes documentation (perhaps just to reference other manuals in the text, or describing local additions). Use the documentation from the distribution.
    – vonbrand
    Jul 16, 2021 at 1:40
  • 1
    One further observation that may or may not be relevant/interesting to you: if you build Emacs yourself from source then (by default) you will get all the correct info files installed in all the correct places. Jul 20, 2021 at 22:05
  • Note that the URL downloads the info file for the Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, not the one for the "Introduction to Emacs Lisp" book that you are asking about in your question.
    – NickD
    Oct 1, 2023 at 23:00

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