I am writing my own Emacs config coming from doom-emacs and Spacemacs. One thing I really miss is the ability to split windows using split-window-below and split-window-right using S-w s s and S-w s v. I am trying to add this to my config and saw that doom-emacs use hydra for this, however, how they do it is like this:

(defhydra +hydra/window-nav (:hint nil)
  ("s" split-window-below)
  ("v" split-window-right)

Can see the source implementation here. I do not understand how it is connected. I tried to just copy their implementation like this:

(defhydra +hydra/window-nav (:hint nil)
  ("s" split-window-below)
  ("v" split-window-right))

But it is not working and did not expect that it would work, since we never bind space for example.. Anyone who could help me?

2 Answers 2


To understand hydra you should start at the original source page.

For a complete example of window management including your two keys see its wiki entry

You are missing the docstring - ie the menu displayed to the user.

As for binding space - I suspect that is done by Doom's macros which extent the original hydra's ones. In the example quit is done by the head ("q" nil)

I prefer to have the macro for a key binding generate the prompt in most cases so I use pretty hydra


Doom and Spacemacs use those keybindings 'directly', no hydra involved. The pop-up window showing the keybindings is provided by the package which-key.

Although you can define all those keybindings directly, I would advise you to start with using either the general.el or the bind-map package.

You can find a minimal example for how to setup a Spacemacs like setup from scratch, using bind-map, here. You can download the README.org file, visit it in Emacs and then do M-x org-babel-tangle to create the init.el file.

B.t.w. in Emacs conventions S-w means Shift+w, but I guess that you mean SPC w.


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