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6.6 Why does Emacs ignore my X resources (my .Xdefaults file)?

As of version 19, Emacs searches for X resources in the files specified by the following environment variables:

This emulates the functionality provided by programs written using the Xt toolkit.

XFILESEARCHPATH and XUSERFILESEARCHPATH should be a list of file names separated by colons. XAPPLRESDIR should be a list of directory names separated by colons.

Emacs searches for X resources:

  1. specified on the command line, with the ‘-xrm RESOURCESTRING’ option,
  2. then in the value of the ‘XENVIRONMENT’ environment variable,
  3. then in the screen-specific and server-wide resource properties provided by the server,
  4. then in the files listed in ‘XUSERFILESEARCHPATH’,
  5. then in the files listed in XFILESEARCHPATH.