I'm a dvorak typist and a vim power user, and I'm just starting to do some heavy development in a LISP and I figured I'd give emacs a shot.

The trouble is, some of the commands are awkward on dvorak. How do I swap commands around? At the moment I'd like to make C-k act like C-x, C-t act like C-k, and C-x at like C-t, but I'm sure that I'll want to swap more things around as I learn what key combinations I actually use.

I know that there are some emacs dvorak modes, but most of them remap all of the commands such that you can keep the qwerty bindings: however, I don't know the qwerty bindings, and most of the bindings are mnemonic, so I'd rather not use any of those.

  • "The trouble is, some of the commands are awkward" ::suppresses a chortle:: Perhaps you should simple have applied a full stop at this point. As much as I love emacs, there is simply no way that all (or even all the reasonable common) commands can have easy keybindings. Jan 17, 2010 at 20:12
  • // , Have you considered Evil-mode? Jan 7, 2016 at 23:54

4 Answers 4


What I was looking for was the keyboard-translate function:

(keyboard-translate ?\C-k ?\C-x)
(keyboard-translate ?\C-x ?\C-t)
(keyboard-translate ?\C-t ?\C-x)

There are Vi modes for emacs, e.g. http://billharlan.com/pub/emacs/ . This is the first hit in Google, so if you don't like that one there are most likely many more to choose from.

This seems to be another one: http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/RZ/software/emacs/viper/viper_3.html

  • Thanks, but I don't want a vi mode for emacs. I want to remap emacs commands so that common ones (such as C-x) aren't awkward on dvorak.
    – So8res
    Jan 18, 2010 at 12:22
  • I haven't looked at it in detail but I would assume the vi mode remaps emacs commands to vi short-cuts which you seem to be happy with.
    – user12889
    Jan 20, 2010 at 5:24

Try (keyboard-translate ?\C-m ?\C-x. C-m is useless anyway (it's RET normally.)


I'd suggest just get used to the Emacs key bindings anyway. I was an Emacs user and later learned Dvorak.

At first my muscle memory was having troubles with changing the position of the keys but in the end I just got used to it.

Also since you are learning Emacs to begin with, it will be easier to find help if you have the traditional key bindings.

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