GNU Emacs Manual. Node: Initial Options

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A.2: Initial Options

The initial options specify parameters for the Emacs session. This section describes the more general initial options; some other options specifically related to X Windows appear in the following sections.

Some initial options affect the loading of init files. The normal actions of Emacs are to first load `site-start.el' if it exists, then your own init file `~/.emacs' if it exists, and finally `default.el' if it exists; certain options prevent loading of some of these files or substitute other files for them.

`-t device'

Use device as the device for terminal input and output.

`-d display'

Use the X Window System and use the display named display to open the initial Emacs frame.


Don't communicate directly with X, disregarding the DISPLAY environment variable even if it is set.


Run Emacs in batch mode, which means that the text being edited is not displayed and the standard terminal interrupt characters such as C-z and C-c continue to have their normal effect. Emacs in batch mode outputs to stderr only what would normally be printed in the echo area under program control.

Batch mode is used for running programs written in Emacs Lisp from shell scripts, makefiles, and so on. Normally the `-l' option or `-f' option will be used as well, to invoke a Lisp program to do the batch processing.

`-batch' implies `-q' (do not load an init file). It also causes Emacs to kill itself after all command options have been processed. In addition, auto-saving is not done except in buffers for which it has been explicitly requested.


Do not load your Emacs init file `~/.emacs', or `default.el' either.


Do not load `site-start.el'. The options `-q', `-u' and `-batch' have no effect on the loading of this file---this is the only option that blocks it.

`-u user'

Load user's Emacs init file `~user/.emacs' instead of your own.


Enable the Emacs Lisp debugger for errors in the init file.


Set up to do almost everything with single-byte buffers and strings. All buffers and strings are unibyte unless you (or a Lisp program) explicitly ask for a multibyte buffer or string. Setting the environment variable EMACS_UNIBYTE has the same effect.


Inhibit the effect of EMACS_UNIBYTE, so that Emacs uses multibyte characters by default, as usual.

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