REPL Configuration

Behavior on connect

Normally, when you first establish a REPL connection, the REPL buffer is auto-displayed in a separate window. You can suppress this behaviour like this:

(setq cider-repl-pop-to-buffer-on-connect nil)

If you want the REPL buffer to be auto-displayed, but don't want it to be focused, use this:

(setq cider-repl-pop-to-buffer-on-connect 'display-only)

Behavior on switch

By default C-c C-z will display the REPL buffer in a different window. You can make C-c C-z switch to the CIDER REPL buffer in the current window:

(setq cider-repl-display-in-current-window t)

Customizing the REPL prompt

You can customize the REPL buffer prompt by setting cider-repl-prompt-function to a function that takes one argument, a namespace name. For convenience, CIDER provides three functions that implement common formats:

  • cider-repl-prompt-lastname:
  • cider-repl-prompt-abbreviated:
  • cider-repl-prompt-default:

By default, CIDER uses cider-repl-prompt-default.

You may, of course, write your own function. For example, in leiningen there are two namespaces with similar names - leiningen.classpath and leiningen.core.classpath. To make them easily recognizable you can either use the default value or you can opt to show only two segments of the namespace and still be able to know which is the REPL's current namespace. Here is an example function that will do exactly that:

(defun cider-repl-prompt-show-two (namespace)
  "Return a prompt string with the last 2 segments of NAMESPACE."
  (let ((names (reverse (subseq (reverse (split-string namespace "\\.")) 0 2))))
    (concat (car names) "." (cadr names) "> ")))

TAB Completion

You can control the TAB key behavior in the REPL using the cider-repl-tab-command variable. While the default command cider-repl-indent-and-complete-symbol should be an adequate choice for most users, it's very easy to switch to another command if you wish to. For instance if you'd like TAB to only indent (maybe because you're used to completing with M-TAB) use the following:

(setq cider-repl-tab-command #'indent-for-tab-command)

Auto-scrolling the REPL on Output

By default, if the REPL buffer contains more lines than the size of the (Emacs) window, the buffer is automatically re-centered upon completion of evaluating an expression, so that the bottom line of output is on the bottom line of the window.

The default has the nice advantage that you always see as much as you can from your previous REPL interactions, but can be pretty annoying if you're a heavy user of C-l (M-x recenter-top-bottom), as even if you're at the top of the REPL buffer the next output will scroll it all the way down.

If you don't like this re-centering you can disable it like this:

(setq cider-repl-scroll-on-output nil)

Result Prefix

You can change the string used to prefix REPL results:

(setq cider-repl-result-prefix ";; => ")

Which then results in the following REPL output:

user> (+ 1 2)
;; => 3

By default, REPL results have no prefix.

Customize the REPL Buffer's Name

The REPL buffer name has the format *cider-repl project-name*. You can change the separator from a space character to something else by setting nrepl-buffer-name-separator.

(setq nrepl-buffer-name-separator "-")

The REPL buffer name can also display the port on which the nREPL server is running. The buffer name will look like *cider-repl project-name:port*.

(setq nrepl-buffer-name-show-port t)


Normally, code in the REPL is font-locked the same way as in clojure-mode. Before CIDER 0.10, by default, REPL input was font-locked with cider-repl-input-face (after pressing Return) and results were font-locked with cider-repl-result-face. If you want to restore the old behaviour use:

(setq cider-repl-use-clojure-font-lock nil)

Pretty printing in the REPL

By default the REPL always pretty-prints the results of your evaluations using whatever pretty-printer is specified in cider-pprint-fn.


This behaviour was changed in CIDER 0.20. In prior CIDER releases pretty-printing was disabled by default.

You can temporary disable this behaviour and revert to the default printer using M-x cider-repl-toggle-pretty-printing.

If you want to disable pretty-printing of results completely use:

(setq cider-repl-use-pretty-printing nil)

The variable cider-repl-pretty-print-width (fill-column by default) controls the print width. You can adjust if you want:

;; this will try to print data in 20 columns per line
(setq cider-repl-pretty-print-width 20)

See this for more information on pretty printing.

Displaying images in the REPL

Starting with CIDER 0.17 (AndalucĂ­a) expressions that evaluate to images will be rendered as images in the REPL. You can disable this behavior if you don't like it.

(setq cider-repl-use-content-types nil)

Alternatively, you can toggle this behaviour on and off using M-x cider-repl-toggle-content-types.

Currently, the feature doesn't work well with pretty-printing in the REPL, so we don't advise you to enable both features at the same time.

Limiting printed output in the REPL

Accidentally printing large objects can be detrimental to your productivity. Clojure provides the *print-length* var which, if set, controls how many items of each collection the printer will print. You can supply a default value for REPL sessions via the repl-options section of your Leiningen project's configuration.

:repl-options {:init (set! *print-length* 50)}

You can also set cider-repl-print-length to an appropriate value (it defaults to 100). If both *print-length and cider-repl-print-length are set, CIDER's setting will take precedence over the value set through Leiningen.

The preceeding discussion also applies to Clojure's *print-level* variable. The corresponding CIDER variable is cider-repl-print-level, set to nil by default.

Customizing the initial REPL namespace

Normally, the CIDER REPL will start in the user namespace. You can supply an initial namespace for REPL sessions in the repl-options section of your Leiningen project configuration:

:repl-options {:init-ns 'my-ns}

Customizing newline interaction

Ordinarily, Return immediate sends a form for evaluation. If you want to insert a newline into the REPL buffer as you're editing, you can do so using C-j. If you are entering a lot of longer forms that span multiple lines, it may be more convenient to change the keybindings:

(define-key cider-repl-mode-map (kbd "RET") #'cider-repl-newline-and-indent)
(define-key cider-repl-mode-map (kbd "C-<return>") #'cider-repl-return)

This will make Return insert a newline into the REPL buffer and C- send the form off for evaluation.

REPL history

  • To make the REPL history wrap around when CIDER reaches the end:
(setq cider-repl-wrap-history t)
  • To adjust the maximum number of items kept in the REPL history:
(setq cider-repl-history-size 1000) ; the default is 500
  • To store the REPL history in a file:
(setq cider-repl-history-file "path/to/file")

Note that CIDER writes the history to the file when you kill the REPL buffer, which includes invoking cider-quit, or when you quit Emacs.