3.5 How do I install a piece of Texinfo documentation?

Emacs releases come with pre-built Info files, and the normal install process places them in the correct location. This is true for most applications that provide Info files. The following section is only relevant if you want to install extra Info files by hand.

First, you must turn the Texinfo source files into Info files. You may do this using the stand-alone makeinfo program, available as part of the Texinfo package at


For information about the Texinfo format, read the Texinfo manual which comes with the Texinfo package. This manual also comes installed in Info format, so you can read it from Emacs; type C-h i m texinfo RET.

Alternatively, you could use the Emacs command M-x texinfo-format-buffer, after visiting the Texinfo source file of the manual you want to convert.

Neither texinfo-format-buffer nor makeinfo installs the resulting Info files in Emacs’s Info tree. To install Info files, perform these steps:

  1. Move the files to the info directory in the installed Emacs distribution. See What are src/config.h, site-lisp/default.el, etc.?, if you don’t know where that is.
  2. Run the install-info command, which is part of the Texinfo distribution, to update the main Info directory menu, like this:
     install-info --info-dir=dir-path dir-path/file

    where dir-path is the full path to the directory where you copied the produced Info file(s), and file is the name of the Info file you produced and want to install.

    If you don’t have the install-info command installed, you can edit the file info/dir in the installed Emacs distribution, and add a line for the top level node in the Info package that you are installing. Follow the examples already in this file. The format is:

    * Topic: (relative-pathname).  Short description of topic.

If you want to install Info files and you don’t have the necessary privileges, you have several options: