Emacs Keys Summery: M-x, C-x, C-c

emacs keys are often confusing to beginners. Here's a summery.

  • Alt+x】 is to call a command by name.
  • Ctrl+‹letter›】 is for frequently used editing commands. e.g. cursor movement, Paste C-y, mark C-SPC, Cancel C-g, Search C-s, ….
  • Alt+‹letter›】 is for somewhat less frequently used operations, often complement to Ctrl. e.g. move by words {M-f, M-b}, Copy M-w, comment-dwim M-;, ….
  • Ctrl+x …】 is for commands that are useful globally. e.g. dired C-x d, “switch-buffer” C-x b, string-rectangle C-x r t, bookmark-bmenu-list C-x r l, ….
  • Ctrl+c …】 is for major-mode specific commands. e.g. in org-mode, C-c . inserts date.
  • Ctrl+h …】 is for help. e.g. describe-function C-h f, apropos-command C-h a, info C-h i.
  • Ctrl+Alt+…】 is for lisp coding related commands. e.g. backward-sexp <C-M-left>.

Note 【Alt+x】 is technically 【Meta+x】, ususually written as “M-x”. “Meta” is a physical key on lisp machine keyboards. If you are on a text terminal, and no Meta remapping has been setup, you can type 【Meta+x】 by pressing 【Esc x】.

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