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Ergoemacs Keybindings

Xah Lee, David Capello, Kim Storm, Walter Landry and Matthew Fidler

Library Information

ErgoEmacs keybindings improve GNU Emacs for people who did not grew up with Emacs. User interface is based on common modern software interface familiar to most people today, such as using 【Ctrl+C】 key for Copy,【Ctrl+Z】 for undo, 【Ctrl+O】 for Open file, and also bundles many Emacs Lisp functions that are not in GNU Emacs by default.

    (setq ergoemacs-theme nil)
    (setq ergoemacs-keyboard-layout "us")
    (require 'ergoemacs-mode)
    (ergoemacs-mode 1)

Changing your own bindings

If you want to change your bindings, you can define keys in the ergoemacs-user-keymap.

For example, if you want to change C-a you can use the following Emacs customization command:

(define-key ergoemacs-user-keymap (kbd "C-a") 'my-replacement-function)

If you wanted this to respect the keyboard layout for some reason, you can use:

(ergoemacs-define-key ergoemacs-user-keymap (kbd "M-i") 'my-other-function)

This defines the Alt+i key on QWERTY and Alt+u on colemak.

You can also define keys that are partially layout dependent and partially fixed.

For example if you wanted the ergoemacs-mode key <menu> n t to start term-mode instead of org-capture, you can define the key as follows:

(ergoemacs-define-key ergoemacs-user-keymap (kbd "<menu> n") 'org-capture (kbd "t"))

In QWERTY, this key would be <menu> n t, in Colemak, this key would be <menu> k t

How `ergoemacs-mode' works the "magic"

ergoemacs-mode binds all of its keys in the emulation-mode-map-alist. As a reference, Emacs looks up keys from the active keymap following the lisp-like pseudo-code below:

(or (if overriding-terminal-local-map
        (find-in overriding-terminal-local-map)
      (if overriding-local-map
          (find-in overriding-local-map)))
    (or (find-in (get-char-property (point) 'keymap))
        (find-in-any emulation-mode-map-alists)
        (find-in-any minor-mode-overriding-map-alist)
        (find-in-any minor-mode-map-alist)
        (if (get-text-property (point) 'local-map)
            (find-in (get-char-property (point) 'local-map))
          (find-in (current-local-map))))
    (find-in (current-global-map)))

This means that ergoemacs-mode overrides:

  • keybindings from minor modes
  • keybindings from major modes (which are contained in the current-local-map)

While this seems useful, many major and minor modes make meaningful changes in Emacs keybindings. For example gnus binds the default key of kill-line, that is C-k to gnus-summary-kill-same-subject and sometimes other functions depending on what part of gnus you are in. The corresponding key in ergoemacs-mode in the "us" layout is M-g.
If you make changes to the gnus keymap to bind M-g to gnus-summary-kill-same-subject, Emacs still overrides this key with whatever ergoemacs-mode has defined in the gnus keymap.

To overcome this there ergoemacs-mode does the following:

  • Intercepts the ergoemacs-mode key for kill-line
  • Temporarily disables all ergoemacs-mode keys and adds the original key C-k to the unread events (and makes sure it isn't recorded)
  • Emacs then carries out the correct command by processing the unread keys
  • ergoemacs-mode re-enables the keybindings

It will also keep the shift selection active by sending shifted keys if necessary.

If you think this is too much magic, you can turn this off with the variable ergoemacs-mode-send-emacs-keys