Emacs Redux

Return to the Essence of Text Editing

Execute Commands Ninja-style With Key-chord-mode

| Comments

One of my bigger problems as an Emacs user is that there only so many good keybindings available. At some point you’re out of good options, but there are still plenty of commands you’d rather be able to execute faster than you’d be able to do with M-x command-name.

key-chord-mode to the rescue! It’s a pretty handy minor mode which allows you to bind commands to keys that should be pressed together or consecutively(with little time between the keystrokes - by default 0.3 seconds). This gives you some pretty good opportunities to increase your productivity. Assuming you’ve installed the mode somehow, you can start playing with it:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
;; key chords
(require 'key-chord)

(key-chord-define-global "BB" 'iswitchb)
(key-chord-define-global "FF" 'find-file)
(key-chord-define-global "jk" 'beginning-of-buffer)

(key-chord-mode +1)

The examples above illustrate global key-chords. Major mode specific key chords are also available.

One should be careful about the key-chord he chooses - it should definitely be something you’re unlikely to type normally. This also means that if you’re writing in Emacs in several languages with common letters, key chords that make sense in say English, might not make sense in French (for instance). Luckily for me - I write almost exclusively in English or some programming language (and Bulgarian and English are nothing alike).

One other note - key chords don’t play very well with evil-mode(Emacs’s vim emulation layer) for obvious reasons. vim is kind of key-chord-mode’s principle inspiration. If you’re an evil-mode user you probably don’t need key-chord-mode anyways.

Prelude enables key-chord-mode out of the box and makes some creative use of it with jj and JJ (which I’d advise you try out if you didn’t know about them).

Comments