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Description structural editing of S-expression data
Author Taylor Campbell
Maintainer Taylor Campbell

Paredit is a minor mode for performing structured editing of S-expression data. The typical example of this would be Lisp or Scheme source code.

Paredit helps keep parentheses balanced and adds many keys for moving S-expressions and moving around in S-expressions.

Basic setup

(autoload 'enable-paredit-mode "paredit"
  "Turn on pseudo-structural editing of Lisp code."
(add-hook 'emacs-lisp-mode-hook       'enable-paredit-mode)
(add-hook 'lisp-mode-hook             'enable-paredit-mode)
(add-hook 'lisp-interaction-mode-hook 'enable-paredit-mode)
(add-hook 'scheme-mode-hook           'enable-paredit-mode)

Helpful keybindings


Forward sexp
Backward sexp
Go up sexp
Go to the end of the node or the end of the parent node when repeated.


Kill everything from here to the end of the line, including any following lines that are included in the scope of the nodes being killed. It will also kill inside strings but stop at the end of the string.


Replace the parent node by the current node.
   (|foo) -> foo
   (foo |bar mu) -> bar 
   (foo (bar |mu zot) bob) -> (foo mu bob)


to wrap the following node in parens. Alternatively, [C-M-SPC] to select the whole node, or just use your normal region selection and run ( or [ or { to wrap that selection.


split the current node. This works on parenthesized expressions or strings.
join two nodes. Works same as above in reverse.

Common Customization


(add-hook 'slime-repl-mode-hook 'enable-paredit-mode)

SLIME’s REPL has the very annoying habit of grabbing DEL which interferes with paredit’s normal operation. To alleviate this problem use the following code:

;; Stop SLIME's REPL from grabbing DEL,
;; which is annoying when backspacing over a '('
(defun override-slime-repl-bindings-with-paredit ()
  (define-key slime-repl-mode-map
    (read-kbd-macro paredit-backward-delete-key)
(add-hook 'slime-repl-mode-hook 'override-slime-repl-bindings-with-paredit)

See Also

See a full list on the Lisp_editing page.

  • Parinfer helps to keep both the indentation and parens balanced. Easy and yet advanced features like Paredit.
  • autopair-mode
  • rainbow delimiters, to highlight each level of parentheses in a different color
  • electric-pair-mode
  • lispy, vi-like paredit (i.e., an alternative to paredit with short keybindings)
  • paxedit, context driven lisp editing and refactoring, inspired by paredit.

Project Pages

Tutorial Pages

External Links