I have a macbook pro 2015 that runs on High Sierra. I want to use emacs key-bindings or shortcuts for regular things like copying and pasting. For instance, I want to use "M-w" to copy instead of "Command-C".

1 Answer 1


Since the Cocoa Text System is pretty customizable, you should be able to add your own set of bindings within ~/Library/KeyBindings. You could see Jacob Rus' comprehensive guide on the subject if you wish to learn more about how macOS makes text happen on your screen, or you can follow these TL;DR steps:

  1. Download the Emacs keybindings compiled by J. Rus
  2. Rename the file to DefaultKeyBinding.dict(if there is an existing file of the same name, rename it to DefaultKeyBinding.dict.ORIG)
  3. Put the file into the ~/Library/KeyBindings folder(if this folder doesn't exist, create it)

EDIT: As of Aug 3, 2022, the second and third links have broken and its unclear if there are mirrors out there. I found what appears to be the source for the article here: https://github.com/jrus/cocoa-text-system

  • 1
    Unfortunately it does not work in Terminal and Firefox on El-Capitan, any suggestions?
    – zeliboba
    Oct 26, 2018 at 15:34
  • Unfortunately, the links are broken now! Aug 3, 2022 at 11:51
  • you could use hammerspoon or karabiner elements to make such keybindings.
    – Levi
    Aug 1, 2023 at 12:48

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