Elpy is an extension for the Emacs text editor to work with Python projects. This documentation explains how to use Elpy to work on Python project using Emacs, but it does not aim to be an introduction to either Emacs or Python.

You can read a quick tour of Emacs, or read the built-in tutorial by running C-h t in the editor. That is, you hold down the control key and hit h (the canonical help key in Emacs), release both, and hit t (for tutorial).

For Python, you can read the basic tutorial. If you already know Python, you should check out some best practices.

Once you have these basics, you can go on to install Elpy.


With use-package

Simply add the following lines to you .emacs (or .emacs.d/init.el, or equivalent):

(use-package elpy
  :ensure t

Or if you want to defer Elpy loading:

(use-package elpy
  :ensure t
  :defer t
  (advice-add 'python-mode :before 'elpy-enable))

From apt (Debian ≥10 an Ubuntu ≥18.10)

Users of Debian ≥10 or Ubuntu ≥18.10 can skip the instructions above this line and may simply install Elpy and all of its recommended dependencies with the following command::

sudo apt install elpa-elpy

Elpy can then be activated by running M-x elpy-enable. This can be made automatic by adding the following to your .emacs:


In order to use all the features (such as navigation with M-.), you’ll need to install some python libraries::

sudo apt install python3-jedi black python3-autopep8 yapf3 python3-yapf

Manually from Melpa

The main Elpy package is installed via the Emacs package interface, package.el. First, you have to add Elpy’s package archive to your list of archives, though. Add the following code to your .emacs file and restart Emacs:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("melpa-stable" . ""))

Now you can run M-x package-refresh-contents to download a fresh copy of the archive contents, and M-x package-install RET elpy RET to install elpy. If you want to enable Elpy by default, you can simply add the following to your .emacs:


Congratulations, Elpy is now successfully installed!

Manually from sources

If you want to test a specific branch or a PR that has not been merged yet, you will have to install Elpy from sources.

  • First, clone the repository containing the branch you are interested in:
git clone
cd elpy

Then check out the branch associated to the PR you want to try:

git checkout BRANCH_NAME
  • Now switch to Emacs and add Elpy’s sources to the load path:
(add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/elpy")
  • Install Elpy’s dependencies:
    • Company
    • highlight-indentation
    • pyvenv
    • yasnippet
    • s
  • Finally, load Elpy files:
(load "elpy")
(load "elpy-rpc")
(load "elpy-shell")
(load "elpy-profile")
(load "elpy-refactor")
(load "elpy-django")


You can easily configure Elpy to your own preferences. All options are available through a unified interface, accessible with the following command:

M-x elpy-config

Show the current Elpy configuration, point out possible problems, and provide a quick interface to relevant customization options.

Packages needed by Elpy can be installed and updated from this interface.