While writing tests for color-identifiers-mode I stumbled upon inability to make Emacs load background and foreground colors from a theme in "batch-mode".


emacs -batch --eval "(progn (load-theme 'adwaita) (print (face-attribute 'default :foreground)) (print (face-attribute 'default :background)))"



I presume that in a batch mode I need to flush font-lock, however doing all of the following after theme is loaded:


has no effect, it's still "unspecified-fg/bg".

So how do I make it load colors?

1 Answer 1


Emacs won't initialize the window system when launched by -batch:

When Emacs is started up, it performs the following operations:

If not running in batch mode, it initializes the window system that ...

If appropriate, it creates a graphical frame. As part of creating the graphical frame, it initializes the window system ... This is not done in batch (noninteractive) or daemon mode.

A workaround is to start Emacs normally and then let it make frames invisible or iconified.

  • Okay, thank you. I'll ask on ML then to make sure there's no way around. Starting Emacs as usual is something I definitely wouldn't want as part of testing.
    – Hi-Angel
    Feb 13 at 14:38
  • @Hi-Angel: May I ask what ML is?
    – shynur
    Feb 13 at 14:40
  • Sorry, I mean the mailing list
    – Hi-Angel
    Feb 13 at 14:40
  • Asked it here, Eli replied, it seems like there's no way for that to work in batch mode.
    – Hi-Angel
    Feb 15 at 16:03

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