My keyboard does not have an escape key, and remapping it through my computer/keyboard settings is turning out to be much harder than I previously thought. Also, Ctrl+[ does not work for me.

Therefore, I'm wondering if it's possible to change the definition of the key to enter special characters could be mapped to a different key. Is this possible?

I checked Edit->Preferences but I couldn't find anything useful.

  • $\begingroup$ Also, in some Apple Macbook Pro models, there is no escape key. $\endgroup$
    – QuantumDot
    Jun 14, 2018 at 22:29
  • $\begingroup$ @QuantumDot As well as this prototype... $\endgroup$ Jun 14, 2018 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


Quit Mathematica. Look up the file KeyEventTranslations.tr in your installation directory. Open it in any editor (but better not in the Mathematica editor). Find the line

Item[KeyEvent["Escape"], "ShortNameDelimiter"]

and change KeyEvent["Escape"] to whatever you want, e.g. to KeyEvent["a", Modifiers -> {Shift, Control}] for a+Shift+Ctrl. Changes take effect when you start Mathematica FrontEnd the next time.

Search also for "KeyEventTranslations.tr" on this site for many other useful ideas.


Thank you for asking the question. I have the same problem now that I have a new MacBook Pro (13") with the "Touchbar" with software defined keys, but no escape key while in the Mathematica app. In MacOS Preferences -> Keyboard I selected "Touchbar Shows... Expanded Keyboard" so that when I hit the "fn" key, the escape key shows in the Touchbar.


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