Emacs auto-overlays package

22 February 2013 The auto-overlays package allows you to define overlays that are created (and updated and destroyed) automatically when text in a buffer matches a regular expression.

Various classes of automatic overlay are provided, to make it easy to define matches for different text regions: words, lines, regions enclosed by start and end tags, or regions enclosed by delimiters. You can also define your own custom classes.

The overlays are updated just before any buffer modification. The built in overlay classes only update as much as is necessary to ensure that overlays covering the point are consistent. Therefore the overlays at the point are guaranteed to be correct before any buffer modification takes place there, but updating the overlays is fast and usually causes no noticeable delay.

Download and Installation

In recent versions of Emacs (>=24.1), you can install the auto-overlays package from within Emacs itself, via GNU ELPA. Use M-x list-packages and take it from there. This is the preferred installation method. (Occasionally, the ELPA version might lag slightly behind the latest version available here.)

The current release of the auto-overlays package is version 0.10.8 (released February 2013). It's relatively stable, though bug fixes and new features are added occasionally.

If you want to live on the bleeding edge, the latest "development" version of the auto-overlays package is hosted in the same git repository as the Predictive Completion package.

  • Git repository: http://www.dr-qubit.org/git/predictive.git
  • Current version (0.10.8)

Note that the git repository URL is a git repository, not a web-site. You cannot view it in a web browser. To grab the latest development version, clone the repository using something like:

git clone http://www.dr-qubit.org/git/predictive.git

To install, simply extract the files to a directory in your Emacs load-path.


Full documentation is available in a variety of formats, for download or for viewing online. Since auto-overlays is an Elisp library, intended to be used by other Elisp packages, the documentation is aimed at Elisp programmers, not Emacs users.

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