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The old fashioned way


May 15, 2007 – 3:17pm OS X Shortcuts, Terminal, Emacs

There are a lot of key commands that exist in OS X that are based on the standard Emacs keys (which admittedly I know nothing about). In bash, tcsh, and other unix environments you will find a lot of these work, and sometimes they will even work in Cocoa text editing tools as well.

These are supported by Mail, TextEdit, and other a lot of other Cocoa apps:

  • ctrl-a Move to the beginning of the line
  • ctrl-e Move to the end of the line
  • ctrl-f Move forward one character
  • ctrl-b Move back one character
  • ctrl-n Move to next line
  • ctrl-p Move to previous line
  • ctrl-d Delete character to right of cursor
  • ctrl-h Delete character to left of cursor
  • ctrl-k Kill from cursor to end of line (kill remembers what was deleted)
  • ctrl-y Yank back what was killed, at the cursor
  • (these two use their own clipboard, not the cmd-x/c/v one)
  • ctrl-o Insert line after cursor
  • ctrl-t Transpose characters on either side of cursor
  • ctrl-l Center the display on cursor
  • ctrl-v Scroll the display one screen forward

Here’s a pretty complete list of existing Mac key bindings for editing:


Here’s how to add even more bindings to Cocoa (by adding them to



And more on Emacs productivity and the Mac:


Posted by in  OS X

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