Mathematica Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Mathematica. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This might not be Mathematica specific question but if there is anyone who can use Emacs keybind on Ubuntu Linux, would you share how you realize it?

I'm using Mathematica student edition both on Mac OS X (10.7.3) and Ubuntu (11.10), and Mac version allows basic Emacs keybind (Ctrl+a, Ctrl+e, Ctrl+d, Ctrl+f, Ctrl+b, etc.) In general, GUI programs on my Ubuntu doesn't allow Emacs keybind unless explicitly configured per program, so as I said I might have to look for general solution for Ubuntu/Linux. But I welcome whatever the solution to realise the keybind.

Update: Thanks to @sebhofer's answer, I manage to comfortably use Emacs keybind on Ubuntu. I had to modify both and to enable my preferred keybind.

As a reference for other people who may want to enable Emacs keybind, I'm sharing those 2 files here: and, which allow following keybinds:

C-v "ScrollPageDown"
C-d "DeleteNext"
C-h "DeletePrevious"
C-p "MovePreviousLine"
C-n "MoveNextLine
C-b "MovePrevious"
C-f "MoveNext"
C-t "MoveNextWord"
C-i "MovePreviousWord"
C-e "MoveLineEnd"
C-a "MoveLineBeginning"

Some of the above might not be the standard Emacs keys. Also, more importantly, some default keybinds that use alt might not work due to the change (I haven't tested thoroughly). You can customize by modifying those .tr files.

share|improve this question
For those who downloaded the .tr files from the link above, I just found & fixed errors so please download from the same link. – IsaacS Apr 3 '12 at 3:41
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I was never able to find a completely satisfying solution, but the following is what I use. The shortcuts for the Mathematica GUI are defined in [MathematicaDir]/SystemFiles/FrontEnd/TextResources/X/ You can also add your own shortcuts there, as long as the functionality you require already exists. (Actually you can also write your own functions and assign shortcuts there.) Of course the shortcuts need to be unique to work correctly, including the ones assigned to menu items, which normally have a Alt-... binding under Linux. These can be edited in the file in the same directory. So you always have to make sure that there is no overlap between these two files. Just as an example, these are the custom shortcuts I defined:

(* My emacs shortcuts *)
Item[KeyEvent["I", Modifiers -> {Command}], "ScrollPageUp"],
Item[KeyEvent["K", Modifiers -> {Command}], "ScrollPageDown"],
Item[KeyEvent["d", Modifiers -> {Command}], "DeleteNext"],
Item[KeyEvent["D", Modifiers -> {Command}], "DeleteNextWord"],
Item[KeyEvent["i", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MovePreviousLine"],
Item[KeyEvent["k", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MoveNextLine"],
Item[KeyEvent["j", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MovePrevious"],
Item[KeyEvent["l", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MoveNext"],
Item[KeyEvent["o", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MoveNextWord"],
Item[KeyEvent["u", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MovePreviousWord"],
Item[KeyEvent["L", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MoveLineEnd"],
Item[KeyEvent["J", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MoveLineBeginning"],
Item[KeyEvent["O", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MoveNextCell"],
Item[KeyEvent["U", Modifiers -> {Command}], "MovePreviousCell"]
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.