Tweaking Emacs Modeline With Powerline

It important to enjoy the development tools you use day after day, so after seeing some of the great looking Emacs modeline customisations, I couldnt resist pimping my modeline (again).

Previously I tweaked the modeline for Clojure development, this time I’ve added styling to the modeline using powerline. I aim to create a modeline worthy of the rest of the Emacs Live experience.

There are several other versions of powerline listed on the EmacsWiki powerline page.

Installing powerline

I use Emacs Live as my base configuration for Emacs, so I added the powerline project to my personal configuration ~/.live-packs/jr0cket-pack/

First I cloned the powerline Gitub repository into the lib folder of my live pack

cd ~/.live-packs/jr0cket-pack/lib
git clone

Then I created a configuration file for the powerline project

emacslcient ~/.live-packs/jr0cket-pack/config/powerline.el &

Adding the following code to the powerline config file loads the files in lib/powerline. I also state which theme I want to use.

(require 'powerline)

There are several other themes avaiable in powerline, including (powerline-center-theme) and (powerline-nano-theme)

Finally, I added a function to load the powerline library at startup in my Emacs Live live-pack init.el file, ~/.live-packs/jr0cket-pack/init.el

(live-load-config-file "powerline.el")

I restarted Emacs and was presented with my new modeline

Emacs powerline - default theme with my Clojure mode tweaks

In full screen with several windows open you can see the difference between active and inactive windows.

Emacs powerline - default theme with active and inactive windows


The powerline project is an easy way to tweak your modeline into something more stylised. Next I want to create my own powerline theme to have my own design touches and tailor it more to my needs.

Thank you.

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