View on GitHub


Emacs incremental completion and selection narrowing framework

Download this project as a .zip file Download this project as a tar.gz file
 _____                            _   _      _
| ____|_ __ ___   __ _  ___ ___  | | | | ___| |_ __ ___
|  _| | '_ ` _ \ / _` |/ __/ __| | |_| |/ _ \ | '_ ` _ \
| |___| | | | | | (_| | (__\__ \ |  _  |  __/ | | | | | |
|_____|_| |_| |_|\__,_|\___|___/ |_| |_|\___|_|_| |_| |_|


Helm is incremental completion and selection narrowing framework for Emacs. It will help steer you in the right direction when you're looking for stuff in Emacs (like buffers, files, etc).

Helm is a fork of anything.el originaly written by Tamas Patrovic and can be considered to be its successor. Helm sets out to clean up the legacy code in anything.el and provide a cleaner, leaner and more modular tool, that's not tied in the trap of backward compatibility.


You need a recent Emacs to use latest helm, at least Emacs-24.3.

Getting Started

Quick install

  1. Clone the helm repository to some directory:

    $ git clone /path/to/helm/directory
  2. Run make from this directory.

  3. Add to .emacs.el (or equivalent):

    (add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/helm/directory")
    (require 'helm-config)

    NOTE: Installing helm like this (i.e from git+make) is the safest way.

Alternatively, you can have a quick try to helm by launching from the helm directory:


Note that this will not work on Windows systems.

Install from Emacs packaging system

Helm is now available on Melpa at You will find there instructions to install.

WARNING: Due to a bad concept of package.el which is in charge of fetching helm files and compiling them, expect errors most of the time when upgrading from melpa and list-package. To avoid this you will have to compile your new files outside of your current emacs running helm. People installing from git and using make file will not suffer from this problem. See FAQ for more infos.

Note to Linux Distributions Maintainers

Only the extensions present in the github emacs-helm organisation are supported.

Alternate install warning

Some people are installing helm with their own config using diverses require, autoload and other hacks, not using helm-config. Expect failures and slowdown at startup unless you really know what you are doing when you do so.

Emacs Prelude

If you're afraid to play with Emacs's configuration, but want to try out Helm - have NO FEAR. Have a look at Emacs Prelude - it has Helm built-in and properly set-up.

Basic usage

Just type M-x helm-mini and enjoy. You might want to bind that command to a keyboard shortcut. Here's a suggestion:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-c h") 'helm-mini)

You can also start with M-x helm-mode and enjoy helm completion in your favourites Emacs commands (e.g M-x, C-x C-f, etc...). You can enable this by adding in your init file:

(helm-mode 1)

As a startup point you can also look at the helm section in Emacs menu to discover some of the commands provided by helm.

Advanced usage

Helm is capable of a lot. Here is a demo of helm-buffers-list:


The demo starts when you see Eval: START in the minibuffer.

As you can see, as you filtered out, the number of candidates decreases, as displayed in the modeline. At the end, there were 12 buffers remained as the result of filtering, down from the total 253 buffers.

You can read this guide to quickly get started with Helm.

You can find all the gory details on the Helm Wiki.

Known issues

Check out the project's issue list a list of unresolved issues. By the way - feel free to fix any of them and sent us a pull request. :-)


Here's a list of all the people who have contributed to the development of Helm.

Bugs & Improvements

Bug reports and suggestions for improvements are always welcome. GitHub pull requests are even better! :-)

NOTE: When trying if something is working or not, be sure to start helm from Emacs -Q or even better Start it from your helm directory with ./

Getting help

If Helm Wiki is not enough, you can ask for help on emacs-helm google group.

The Helm Team