GNU Emacs Manual. Node: Environment

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A.5: Environment Variables

This appendix describes how Emacs uses environment variables. An environment variable is a string passed from the operating system to Emacs, and the collection of environment variables is known as the environment. Environment variable names are case sensitive and it is conventional to use upper case letters only.

Because environment variables come from the operating system there is no general way to set them; it depends on the operating system and especially the shell that you are using. For example, here's how to set the environment variable ORGANIZATION to `not very much' using bash:

export ORGANIZATION="not very much"

and here's how to do it in csh or tcsh:

setenv ORGANIZATION "not very much"

When Emacs is set-up to use the X windowing system, it inherits the use of a large number of environment variables from the X library. See the X documentation for more information.

  • General Variables Environment variables that all versions of Emacs use.
  • Misc Variables Certain system-specific variables.
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