When using Yasnippets (a popular template system for Emacs), you will usually need to add your custom snippets to easy the task of writing repetitive content.

To extend the snippets, there is a special snippet template that acts as a template in a similar way that yasnippets handle other templates.

Writing a snippet

Snippet directory

The directory for storing snippets is defined by the variable yas-snippet-dirs and by default is ~/.emacs.d/snippets.

You can check its value in your system with C-v yas-snippet-dirs.

Creating the snippet

To create the snippet file execute the command yas-new-snippet (C-c & C-n), yasnippets internally expands the snippet-writing snippet.

A new buffer will open with the base model to define the new snippet in the snippet-mode major mode.

# -*- mode: snippet -*-
# name: 
# key: 
# --


The following is an example of the current for statement in Python:

# name: for ... in ... : ...
# key: for
# group : control structure
# --
for ${var} in ${collection}:

More details of the customizations can be found in the official documentation.

Saving the snippet

The snippet will be saved in the default snippets directory and inside the current major-mode subdirectory. For example, if we attempt to save the previous python snippet it will be located in .emacs.d/snippets/python-mode.

Testing the snippet

Once saved, the snippet can be tested with the command M-x yas-tryout-snippet which will test the current snippet buffer template in other buffer with the proper major mode.

To load the new snippet just use M-x yas-load-snippet-buffer and it will be available in other buffers.


If you are extending the snippets definitions with something that would be useful for others, consider making a pull request to the official snippets repo.


Marcelo Canina
I'm Marcelo Canina, a developer from Uruguay. I build websites and web-based applications from the ground up and share what I learn here.