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Moving the Cursor without the mouse in emacs

If you're logged into a workstation, you can use the arrow keys (though not the numeric keypad arrows) to move the cursor around your window. Additionally, emacs has another set of control characters for movement:

To move forward one character, type CTRL-f
To move backward one character, type CTRL-b
To move to the next line, type CTRL-n
To move to the previous line, type CTRL-p
To move to the end of a line CTRL-e
To move to the beginning of a line CTRL-a

There are also some useful commands that use the Meta key. Additionally, the ESC key can be used in place of Alt/Meta. The table below provides both versions of the key combination.

(Note that you must hold down Alt and then press the next key; ESC can be pressed and released before hitting the next key).

To move forward one word ESC f
To move backwards one word ESC b
To move to the end of a sentence ESC e
To move to the beginning of a sentence ESC a
To move to the end of the buffer ESC >
To move to the beginning of the buffer ESC <

Notice how most of the commands are mnemonic.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

February 10, 2011

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