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Table of Contents



mastodon.el’ is an Emacs client for the AcitivityPub social networks that implement the Mastodon API. For info see

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1.1 Installation

You can install ‘mastodon.el’ from ELPA, MELPA, or directly from this repo. It is also available as a GUIX package.

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1.1.1 ELPA

You should be able to directly install with:

M-x package-refresh-contents RET

M-x package-install RET mastodon RET

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1.1.2 MELPA

Add ‘MELPA’ to your archives:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("melpa" . "") t)

Update and install:

M-x package-refresh-contents RET

M-x package-install RET mastodon RET

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1.1.3 Repo

Clone this repository and add the lisp directory to your load path. Then, require it and go.

(add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/mastodon.el/lisp")
(require 'mastodon)

Or, with ‘use-package’:

(use-package mastodon
  :ensure t)

The minimum Emacs version is now 27.1. But if you are running an older version it shouldn’t be very hard to get it working.

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1.1.4 Emoji

mastodon-mode’ will enable Emojify if it is loaded in your Emacs environment, so there’s no need to write your own hook anymore. ‘emojify-mode’ is not required.

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1.1.5 Discover

mastodon-mode’ can provide a context menu for its keybindings if Discover is installed. It is not required.

if you have Discover, add the following to your Emacs init configuration:

(require 'mastodon-discover)
(with-eval-after-load 'mastodon (mastodon-discover))

Or, with ‘use-package’:

(use-package mastodon
  :ensure t

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1.2 Usage

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1.2.1 Logging in to your instance

You need to set 2 variables in your init file to get started:

  1. mastodon-instance-url
  2. mastodon-active-user

(see their doc strings for details). For example If you want to post toots as "", then put this in your init file:

(setq mastodon-instance-url ""
      mastodon-active-user "example_user")

Then restart Emacs and run ‘M-x mastodon’. Make sure you are connected to internet before you do this. If you have multiple mastodon accounts you can activate one at a time by changing those two variables and restarting Emacs.

If you were using mastodon.el before 2FA was implemented and the above steps do not work, delete the old file specified by ‘mastodon-client--token-file’ and restart Emacs and follow the steps again.

1.2.2 Timelines

M-x mastodon

Opens a ‘*mastodon-home*’ buffer in the major mode and displays toots. If your credentials are not yet saved, you will be prompted for email and password. The app registration process will take place if your ‘mastodon-token-file’ does not contain ‘:client_id’ and ‘:client_secret’.

  1. Keybindings
    ?Show discover menu of all bindings, if ‘discover’ is available
    Timeline actions
    nGo to next item (toot, notification, user)
    pGo to previous item (toot, notification, user)
    M-n=/=<tab>Go to the next interesting thing that has an action
    M-p=/=<S-tab>Go to the previous interesting thing that has an action
    FOpen federated timeline (1 prefix arg: hide-replies, 2 prefix args: media only)
    HOpen home timeline (1 prefix arg: hide-replies)
    LOpen local timeline (1 prefix arg: hide-replies, 2 prefix args: media only)
    NOpen notifications timeline
    @Open mentions-only notifications timeline
    uUpdate current timeline
    TOpen thread for toot at point
    #Prompt for tag and open its timeline
    AOpen author profile of toot at point
    POpen profile of user attached to toot at point
    OView own profile
    Uupdate your profile bio note
    ;view instance description for toot at point
    :view followed tags and load a tag timeline
    C-:view timeline of all followed tags
    ,view favouriters of toot at point
    .view boosters of toot at point
    /switch between mastodon buffers
    Zreport user/toot at point to instances moderators
    Other views
    ssearch (posts, users, tags) (NB: only posts you have interacted with)
    I’, ‘c’, ‘dview, create, and delete filters
    R’, ‘a’, ‘jview/accept/reject follow requests
    Gview follow suggestions
    Vview your favourited toots
    Kview bookmarked toots
    Xview/edit/create/delete lists
    Sview your scheduled toots
    Toot actions
    tCompose a new toot
    cToggle content warning content
    bBoost toot under ‘point
    fFavourite toot under ‘point
    ktoggle bookmark of toot at point
    rReply to toot under ‘point
    vVote on poll at point
    Ccopy url of toot at point
    C-RETplay video/gif at point (requires ‘mpv’)
    eedit your toot at point
    Eview edits of toot at point
    i(un)pin your toot at point
    ddelete your toot at point, and reload current timeline
    Ddelete and redraft toot at point, preserving reply/CW/visibility
    (‘S-C-’) ‘W’, ‘M’, ‘B(un)follow, (un)mute, (un)block author of toot at point
    Profile view
    C-c C-ccycle between statuses, statuses without boosts, followers, and following
    mastodon-profile--account-account-to-list’ (see lists view)
    Notifications view
    a’, ‘jaccept/reject follow request
    C-kclear notification at point
    see ‘mastodon-notifications--get-*’ functions for filtered views
    qQuit mastodon buffer, leave window open
    QQuit mastodon buffer and kill window
    C-M-qQuit and kill all mastodon buffers
  2. Toot byline legend
    (🔁)’ (or ‘(B)’)I boosted this toot
    (⭐)’ (or ‘(F)’)I favourited this toot
    (🔖)’ (or (‘K’))I bookmarked this toot

1.2.3 Composing toots

M-x mastodon-toot’ (or ‘t’ from a mastodon.el buffer) opens a new buffer/window in ‘text-mode’ and ‘mastodon-toot’ minor mode. Enter the contents of your toot here. ‘C-c C-c’ sends the toot. ‘C-c C-k’ cancels. Both actions kill the buffer and window. Further keybindings are displayed in the buffer, and in the following subsection.

Replies preserve visibility status/content warnings, and include boosters by default.

Server’s max toot length, and attachment previews, are shown.

You can download and use your instance’s custom emoji (‘mastodon-toot--download-custom-emoji’, ‘mastodon-toot--enable-custom-emoji’).

The compose buffer uses ‘text-mode’ so any configuration you have for that mode will be enabled. If any of your existing config conflicts with ‘mastodon-toot’, you can disable it in the ‘mastodon-toot-mode-hook’. For example, the default value of that hook is as follows:

(add-hook 'mastodon-toot-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
              (auto-fill-mode -1)))
  1. Keybindings
    C-c C-cSend toot
    C-c C-kCancel toot
    C-c C-wAdd content warning
    C-c C-vChange toot visibility
    C-c C-nAdd sensitive media/nsfw flag
    C-c C-aUpload attachment(s)
    C-c !Remove all attachments
    C-c C-eAdd emoji (if ‘emojify’ installed)
    C-c C-pCreate a poll
    C-c C-lSet toot language
  2. Autocompletion of mentions and tags

    Autocompletion of mentions and tags is provided by ‘completion-at-point-functions’ (capf) backends. ‘mastodon-toot--enable-completion’ is enabled by default. If you want to enable ‘company-mode’ in the toot compose buffer, set ‘mastodon-toot--use-company-for-completion’ to ‘t’. (‘mastodon.el’ used to run its own native company backends, but these have been removed in favour of capfs.)

    If you don’t run ‘company’ and want immediate, keyless completion, you’ll need to have another completion engine running that handles capfs. A common combination is ‘consult’ and ‘corfu’.

  3. Draft toots
    • Compose buffer text is saved as you type, kept in ‘mastodon-toot-current-toot-text’.
    • mastodon-toot--save-draft’: save the current toot as a draft.
    • mastodon-toot--open-draft-toot’: Open a compose buffer and insert one of your draft toots.
    • mastodon-toot--delete-draft-toot’: Delete a draft toot.
    • mastodon-toot--delete-all-drafts’: Delete all your drafts.

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1.2.4 Other commands and account settings:

In addition to ‘mastodon’, the following three functions are autoloaded and should work without first loading ‘mastodon.el’:

  • mastodon-toot’: Compose new toot
  • mastodon-notifications-get’: View all notifications
  • mastodon-url-lookup’: Attempt to load a URL in ‘mastodon.el’. URL may be at point or provided in the minibuffer.
  • mastodon-tl--view-instance-description’: View information about the instance that the author of the toot at point is on.
  • mastodon-tl--view-own-instance’: View information about your own instance.
  • mastodon-search--trending-tags’: View a list of trending hashtags on your instance.
  • mastodon-search--trending-statuses’: View a list of trending statuses on your instance.
  • mastodon-tl--add-toot-account-at-point-to-list’: Add the account of the toot at point to a list.
  • mastodon-tl--dm-user’: Send a direct message to one of the users at point.
  • mastodon-profile--add-private-note-to-account’: Add a private note to another user’s account.
  • mastodon-profile--view-account-private-note’: View a private note on a user’s account.
  • mastodon-profile--show-familiar-followers’: Show a list of “familiar followers” for a given account. Familiar followers are accounts that you follow, and that follow the account.
  • mastodon-tl--follow-tag’: Follow a tag (works like following a user)
  • mastodon-tl--unfollow-tag’: Unfollow a tag
  • mastodon-tl--list-followed-tags’: View a list of tags you’re following.
  • mastodon-tl--followed-tags-timeline’: View a timeline of all your followed tags.
  • mastodon-tl--some-followed-tags-timleine’: View a timeline of multiple tags, from your followed tags or any other.
  • mastodon-switch-to-buffer’: switch between mastodon buffers.
  • mastodon-profile--update-display-name’: Update the display name for your account.
  • mastodon-profile--update-user-profile-note’: Update your bio note.
  • mastodon-profile--update-meta-fields’: Update your metadata fields.
  • mastodon-profile--set-default-toot-visibility’: Set the default visibility for your toots.
  • mastodon-profile--account-locked-toggle’: Toggle the locked status of your account. Locked accounts have to manually approve follow requests.
  • mastodon-profile--account-discoverable-toggle’: Toggle the discoverable status of your account. Non-discoverable accounts are not listed in the profile directory.
  • mastodon-profile--account-bot-toggle’: Toggle whether your account is flagged as a bot.
  • mastodon-profile--account-sensitive-toggle’: Toggle whether your posts are marked as sensitive (nsfw) by default.

1.2.5 Customization

See ‘M-x customize-group RET mastodon’ to view all customize options.

  • Timeline options:
    • Use proportional fonts
    • Default number of posts displayed
    • Timestamp format
    • Relative timestamps
    • Display user avatars
    • Avatar image height
    • Enable image caching
    • Hide replies in timelines
    • Show toot stats in byline
  • Compose options:
    • Completion style for mentions and tags
    • Enable custom emoji
    • Display toot being replied to
    • Set default reply visibility

1.2.6 Commands and variables index

An index of all user-facing commands and custom variables is available here:

1.2.7 Alternative timeline layout

The incomparable Nicholas Rougier has written an alternative timeline layout for ‘mastodon.el’.

The repo is at mastodon-alt.

1.2.8 Live-updating timelines: ‘mastodon-async-mode

(code taken from mastodon-future.)

Works for federated, local, and home timelines and for notifications. It’s a little touchy, one thing to avoid is trying to load a timeline more than once at a time. It can go off the rails a bit, but it’s still pretty cool. The current maintainer of ‘mastodon.el’ is unable to debug or improve this feature.

To enable, it, add ‘(require 'mastodon-async)’ to your ‘init.el’. Then you can view a timeline with one of the commands that begin with ‘mastodon-async--stream-’.

1.2.9 Translating toots

You can translate toots with ‘mastodon-toot--translate-toot-text’ (‘a’ in a timeline). At the moment this requires lingva.el, a little interface I wrote to, to be installed to work.

You could easily modify the simple function to use your Emacs translator of choice (‘libretrans.el’ , ‘google-translate’, ‘babel’, ‘go-translate’, etc.), you just need to fetch the toot’s content with ‘(mastodon-tl--content toot)’ and pass it to your translator function as its text argument. Here’s what ‘mastodon-toot--translate-toot-text’ looks like:

(defun mastodon-toot--translate-toot-text ()
  "Translate text of toot at point.
  Uses `lingva.el'."
    (let* ((toot (mastodon-tl--property 'toot-json)))
      (if toot
          (lingva-translate nil (mastodon-tl--content toot))
        (message "No toot to translate?"))))

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1.2.10 Bookmarks and ‘mastodon.el

mastodon.el’ doesn’t currently implement its own bookmark record and handler, which means that emacs bookmarks will not work as is. Until we implement them, you can get bookmarks going immediately by using bookmark+.el.

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1.3 Dependencies

Hard dependencies (should all install with ‘mastodon.el’):

  • request’ (for uploading attachments), emacs-request
  • persist’ for storing some settings across sessions

Optional dependencies (install yourself, ‘mastodon.el’ can use them):

  • emojify’ for inserting and viewing emojis
  • mpv’ and ‘mpv.el’ for viewing videos and gifs
  • lingva.el’ for translating toots

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1.4 Network compatibility

mastodon.el’ should work with ActivityPub servers that implement the Mastodon API.

Apart from Mastodon itself, it is currently known to work with:

It does not support the non-Mastodon API servers Misskey ( and Firefish (, formerly Calkey), but it should fully support displaying and interacting with posts and users on those platforms.

If you attempt to use ‘mastodon.el’ with a server and run into problems, feel free to open an issue.

1.5 Contributing

PRs, issues, feature requests, and general feedback are very welcome!

1.5.1 Bug reports

  1. mastodon.el’ has bugs, as well as lots of room for improvement.
  2. I receive very little feedback, so if I don’t run into the bug it often doesn’t get fixed.
  3. If you run into something that seems broken, first try running ‘mastodon.el’ in emacs with no init file (i.e. ‘emacs -q’ (instructions and code for doing this are here) to see if it also happens independently of your own config (it probably does).
  4. Enable debug on error (‘toggle-debug-on-error’), make the bug happen again, and copy the backtrace that appears.
  5. Open an issue here and explain what is going on. Provide your emacs version and what kind of server your account is on.

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1.5.2 Fixes and features

  1. Create an issue detailing what you’d like to do.
  2. Fork the repository and create a branch off of ‘develop’.
  3. Run the tests and ensure that your code doesn’t break any of them.
  4. Create a pull request referencing the issue created in step 1.

1.5.3 Coding style

  • This library uses an unconvential double dash (‘--’) between file namespaces and function names, which contradicts normal Elisp style. This needs to be respected until the whole library is changed.
  • Use ‘aggressive-indent-mode’ or similar to keep your code indented.
  • Single spaces end sentences in docstrings.
  • There’s no need for a blank line after the first docstring line (one is added automatically when documentation is displayed).

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1.6 Supporting ‘mastodon.el

If you’d like to support continued development of ‘mastodon.el’, I accept donations via paypal: If you would prefer a different payment method, please write to me at <martianhiatus [at] riseup [dot] net> and I can provide IBAN or other bank account details.

I don’t have a tech worker’s income, so even a small tip would help out.

1.7 Contributors

mastodon.el’ is the work of a number of people.

Some significant contributors are: