ConsoleKeys

Difference between revision 11 and current revision

Summary: Rollback to 2008-09-05 00:16 UTC

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These are no longer the days of the VT100 – when emacs had to rely on what the VT could send.

This page is dedicated to getting everything out of emacs keys on the console and in a terminal emulator such as xterm.

I first implemented this on the linux console, where the Fn keys are represented by a string or sequence of weird characters, which emacs will then translate into the appropriate FunctionKeys.

My keyboard has two <> buttons (that is a diamond) that I wanted to use as meta keys, so I configured them to act as the meta modifier instead of alt, like I had previously done in X.

Then I wanted M-Fn to work as well, since I was using (now) A-Fn to switch VTs.

The solution is quite simple, make M-Fn produce another weird sequence and make emacs translate them into M-Fn.

Configuring Your Console or Terminal to Send Weird Characters

Some of these are obviously not written yet ;)

Please add whatever terminal info you can ;-)

Making Emacs Change the Sequence Into Keys

To make emacs translate your sequence into keys, you add it to function-key-map with define-key, like so:

    (define-key function-key-map "^[[^[[[A" (kbd "M-<f1>"))

This is the string I chose to represent M-f1, The ^[ is really the ESC key, you can insert it into a buffer with C-q ESC. It is a good idea not to choose strings that conflict with string the terminal already sends. For me, “^[[[A” is F1, so I choose to prefix it with ESC but didn’t feel comfortable with two ESC, since one does sometimes want to enter them by the numbers into emacs, so I put a “[” bewteen them.

[Why not use \e instead of the literal escape char? That would avoid possible problems when transmitting the file over the network.]

I can only give the following advice when choosing strings:

I would also like to point out that using [(meta f1)] did not work excacly in emacs 21.3, but (kdb “M-<f1>”) did. It returns [M-F1]. There seems to be a slight incompatibility in between them.


CategoryKeys