[ESS] Help pops up in web browser

Julian M. Burgos ju||@n@burgo@ @end|ng |rom h@|ogv@tn@|@
Fri Feb 21 11:03:06 CET 2020

Hi Naresh,

I had a similar issue recently with emacs "automatically" opening the help file from a function when I started to type it.  It took me a lot of head scratching but I figured out that the culprit was one of the company-frontends (probably interacting with some other component of my setup).  I used to have these:

(setq company-frontends

I replaced them for this:

(setq company-frontends '(company-pseudo-tooltip-frontend

And the problem went away.  I do not know exactly why.

I found an old discussion thread where the problem was related to a conflict between the use of autocompletion and the use of html help:


... the problem was that help was *supposed* to show up automatically in a pop-up window, but if you had your help file show up as html (instead of plain text), you get a browser with the help file instead.

I assume that something similar is happening now with company-mode.

Because I prefer the help in html (because hyperlinks, and as I use EXWM and the browser shows up within an emacs buffer) in my .emacs file I have this:

(setq inferior-ess-r-help-command "help(\"%s\", help_type=\"html\")\n")

But if you want (or need) help in plain text you can use


to ensure that the help shows up as text.

I hope this helps.



Naresh Gurbuxani via ESS-help writes:

> To display python documentation, I recently installed company-quickhelp.  While it works well for python, my emacs now has an annoying feature in ess-r mode.
> When I linger on an R function, emacs launches a new web browser window displaying help for that function.  For example on typing ‘libr’, emacs launches a new browser window displaying documentation for ‘library’.  Moreover, the browser becomes the active application.
> How can this feature be turned off?  I want documentation to be displayed only when asked.  Moreover, I want to see documentation in emacs window.
> I am using Windows operating system.
> Thanks,
> Naresh
> Sent from my iPhone
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Julian Mariano Burgos, PhD
Hafrannsóknastofnun, rannsókna- og ráðgjafarstofnun hafs og vatna/
Marine and Freshwater Research Institute
Botnsjávarsviðs / Demersal Division
Skúlagata 4, 121 Reykjavík, Iceland
Sími/Telephone : +354-5752037
Bréfsími/Telefax:  +354-5752001
Netfang/Email: julian.burgos using hafogvatn.is

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