In Emacs, how are keystrokes denoted?
Emacs keystroke conventions are very different from the ones used by many other applications and sources of computing information. They also differ from the standards used in the great majority of Knowledge Base documents. However, because Emacs (and all of its documents) adheres rigorously to its own standard, Knowledge Base documents about Emacs observe the Emacs standard.
The Ctrl key
Emacs uses the
C- prefix to denote holding
Ctrl while pressing another key. For
example, holding down
Ctrl and pressing
x is denoted as
Ctrl-x in the rest of the Knowledge Base,
C-x in Knowledge Base documents
The Meta key
Because of Emacs' origin on Symbolics Lisp computers, it makes heavy
use of a
Meta key, denoted with the
prefix. This key does not actually exist on most keyboards. In
almost all configurations, however, pressing
and releasing it is equivalent to holding down the
key. For example, to enter
M-x, you would press
Esc and release it, then press
A few obscure Emacs commands have an
prefix. To handle these commands on most terminals, press and
Esc, then hold down
Ctrl while pressing the final key in the
Metakey. On some Linux systems, the
Altkey may function as the
Metakey. On most Sun keyboards, the diamond key functions as the
Other common keys
Emacs also uses two- or three-letter abbreviations for many common keystrokes, as shown below:
Emacs Meaning Keystroke BS Backspace
LFD Line Feed
RET Carriage Return
SPC Space Spacebar TAB Tab
Here are a few examples of how to interpret Emacs keystroke conventions:
Emacs command What you type
Press and hold
Ctrl, then press
x, followed by
Press and release
Esc, then press
x. Then type
Press and release
Esc, then press and hold
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This is document aghb in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2016-11-30 12:31:18.
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