Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. 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

In readline(3) I should be able to map Control-Backspace to the same function as Control-W (unix-kill-rubout). Regardless of what I put in ~/.inputrc I'm unable to get this to be recognized.

\C-\b: unix-kill-rubout

...for instance does not work. Can I map Control-Backspace to the unix-kill-rubout in readline?

share|improve this question

I doubt your terminal will send a special code for ctrl-backspace. Backspace is normally ctrl-?, and you can't add another ctrl modifier to a ctrl character.

One alternative might be to have your terminal send a special escape sequence for Ctrl-Backspace, then map that in your readline config.

share|improve this answer


"\C-_": unix-word-rubout

to .inputrc seems to work for me.

The C-_ represents control underscore. This is what my terminal sends when pressing CTRL+Backspace.

Pressing CTRL+V then a key combination will echo it's code to the console. For me, pressing CTRL+V then CTRL+Backspace echoes ^_ with ^ meaning CTRL. In .inputrc \C- is the CTRL modifier so \C-_ is what's needed here. You can use this technique to determine other key combinations you may want to use..

share|improve this answer

Are you looking for unix-word-rubout or kill-word ? I don't think unix-kill-word exists.

share|improve this answer
Hi, .inputrc actually says unix-kill-rubout, I don't know why I kept thinking it was unix-kill-word. Regardless, it still just asks like regular backspace. – Xepoch Jan 14 '10 at 6:48

For the linux terminal, you can do it by modifying the keymap you load on startup. In ubuntu my default it loads /etc/console-setup/cached.kmap.gz. If you find the entry corresponding to Ctrl-Backspace (probably Control-Delete is listed as Backspace already) then you could change that to Control_w. Not sure about terminal emulators, but konsole (the default KDE terminal emulator) has quite nice settings for keybinds. Hope that helps :)


share|improve this answer

This works for me (in urxvt, bash):

share|improve this answer

As graywh points out backspace is often represented by ^?. In order to bind to ctrl+bksp in your .inputrc file you may need modify your readline library. This ubuntu tutorial includes a new .keytab file which can override the default output.

On my system this let me add "\e[9;3~": backward-kill-word to my .inputrc.

As readline behavior seems to vary somewhat based on your system, it's worth noting I'm using Konsole on Kubuntu.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .