I am following System Crafters series on Emacs from Scratch on YouTube. With my configuration as I have set it up, Ivy doesn't appear in nice left-justified easy-to-read columns. I am trying to figure out a setting to do this. To be clear, here is what appears in my minibuffer.

emacs with badly justified mini buffer columns

A slightly shortened version of my init.el file is as follows:

(setq inhibit-startup-message t)
(setq initial-frame-alist
      (append initial-frame-alist
              '((width  . 100)
        (height . 45))))

(load-theme 'wombat)

(scroll-bar-mode -1)        ; Disable visible scrollbar
(tool-bar-mode -1)          ; Disable the toolbar
(tooltip-mode -1)           ; Disable tooltips
(set-fringe-mode 10)        ; Give some breathing room

(menu-bar-mode -1)            ; Disable the menu bar

(global-display-line-numbers-mode t)

;; Disable line numbers for some modes
(dolist (mode '(org-mode-hook
  (add-hook mode (lambda () (display-line-numbers-mode 0))))

(set-face-attribute 'default nil
                    :family "DejaVu Sans Mono"
                    :height 150)

;; Make ESC quit prompts
(global-set-key (kbd "<escape>") 'keyboard-escape-quit)

;; Initialize package sources
(require 'package)

(setq package-archives '(("melpa" . "https://melpa.org/packages/")
                         ("org" . "https://orgmode.org/elpa/")
                         ("elpa" . "https://elpa.gnu.org/packages/")))

(unless package-archive-contents

;; Initialize use-package on non-Linux platforms
(unless (package-installed-p 'use-package)
   (package-install 'use-package)) 

(require 'use-package)
(setq use-package-always-ensure t)

(use-package doom-modeline
  :ensure t
  :init (doom-modeline-mode 1)
  :custom ((doom-modeline-height 10)))

(use-package ivy
  :bind (("C-s" . swiper)
         :map ivy-minibuffer-map
         ("TAB" . ivy-alt-done) 
         ("C-l" . ivy-alt-done)
         ("C-j" . ivy-next-line)
         ("C-k" . ivy-previous-line)
         :map ivy-switch-buffer-map
         ("C-k" . ivy-previous-line)
         ("C-l" . ivy-done)
         ("C-d" . ivy-switch-buffer-kill)
         :map ivy-reverse-i-search-map
         ("C-k" . ivy-previous-line)
         ("C-d" . ivy-reverse-i-search-kill))
  (ivy-mode 1))

(use-package ivy-rich
  (ivy-rich-mode 1))

(use-package counsel
  :bind (("M-x" . counsel-M-x)
         ("C-x b" . counsel-ibuffer)
         ("C-x C-f" . counsel-find-file)
         :map minibuffer-local-map
         ("C-r" . 'counsel-minibuffer-history)))

(use-package swiper :ensure t)

(use-package counsel
  :bind (("C-M-j" . 'counsel-switch-buffer)
         :map minibuffer-local-map
         ("C-r" . 'counsel-minibuffer-history))

  (counsel-mode 1))
  • Do you see the same problem if you start Emacs using emacs -Q (no init file)? If not then bisect your init file to find the culprit. If you still have a question at that point, either post it separately or edit this question to ask it (removing all code that's irrelevant to reproducing the problem with emacs -Q).
    – Drew
    Nov 27, 2021 at 20:49
  • I may be missing something but I don't understand how I can do that here since ivy behaviour is defined by my init.el. Without my init.el ivy will simply not do anything, right?
    – Lindsay
    Nov 27, 2021 at 21:37
  • 1
    Provide an explicit recipe that starts with emacs -Q. You can use M-: or M-x eval-region or load a file whose contents you show, to provide all necessary settings and other code you really need to repro it. The point is to narrow the question/problem down to just what's relevant.
    – Drew
    Nov 28, 2021 at 1:25
  • Thank you @Drew. I did as you suggest, and narrowed the problem. It turned out that the problem was caused by the font choice. When I removed the following the problem disappeared: (set-face-attribute 'default nil :family "DejaVu Sans Mono" :height 150)
    – Lindsay
    Dec 1, 2021 at 9:09
  • Great. You can accept your own answer. Questions with accepted answers tend to help others more.
    – Drew
    Dec 1, 2021 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


By a process of elimination, I realised the problem was the font I was using, which puzzles me because I thought any monospace font would do OK. When I removed the following, the formatting in the minibuffer was fine.

(set-face-attribute 'default nil
                :family "DejaVu Sans Mono"
                :height 150)

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