An experiment in adding multiple cursors to emacs.
Emacs Lisp Other
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Multiple cursors for Emacs. This is some pretty crazy functionality, so yes, there are kinks. Don't be afraid tho, I've been using it since 2011 with great success and much merriment.

Basic usage

Start out with:

(require 'multiple-cursors)

Then you have to set up your keybindings - multiple-cursors doesn't presume to know how you'd like them laid out. Here are some examples:

When you have an active region that spans multiple lines, the following will add a cursor to each line:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-S-c C-S-c") 'mc/edit-lines)

When you want to add multiple cursors not based on continuous lines, but based on keywords in the buffer, use:

(global-set-key (kbd "C->") 'mc/mark-next-like-this)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-<") 'mc/mark-previous-like-this)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-c C-<") 'mc/mark-all-like-this)

First mark the word, then add more cursors.

To get out of multiple-cursors-mode, press <return> or C-g. The latter will first disable multiple regions before disabling multiple cursors. If you want to insert a newline in multiple-cursors-mode, use C-j.


You can watch an intro to multiple-cursors at Emacs Rocks.

More commands to play around with

I've set up my key-bindings like so:

;; From active region to multiple cursors:
(global-set-key (kbd "C-S-c C-S-c") 'mc/edit-lines)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-S-c C-e") 'mc/edit-ends-of-lines)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-S-c C-a") 'mc/edit-beginnings-of-lines)

When you have an active region that spans multiple lines, the preceeding three commands will add one cursor to each line.

;; Rectangular region mode
(global-set-key (kbd "H-SPC") 'set-rectangular-region-anchor)

Think of this one as set-mark except you're marking a rectangular region. It is an exceedingly quick way of adding multiple cursors to multiple lines.

;; Mark more like this
(global-set-key (kbd "M-æ") 'mc/mark-all-like-this)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-å") 'mc/mark-previous-like-this)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-æ") 'mc/mark-next-like-this)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-Æ") 'mc/mark-more-like-this-extended)
(global-set-key (kbd "M-å") 'mc/mark-all-in-region)

Okay, yes, I have a crazy norwegian keyboard. Regardless, these will look at whatever you've got selected at the moment, and mark more places like that in the buffer.

BTW, I highly recommend adding mc/mark-next-like-this to a key binding that's right next to the key for er/expand-region.


Sometimes you end up with cursors outside of your view. You can scroll the screen to center on each cursor with C-v and M-v.

Unknown commands

Multiple-cursors uses two lists of commands to know what to do: the run-once list and the run-for-all list. It comes with a set of defaults, but it would be beyond silly to try and include all the known Emacs commands.

So that's why multiple-cursors occasionally asks what to do about a command. It will then remember your choice by saving it in ~/.emacs.d/.mc-lists.el. You can change the location with:

(setq mc/list-file "/my/preferred/file")

Known limitations

  • isearch-forward and isearch-backward aren't supported with multiple cursors. You should feel free to add a simplified version that can work with it.
  • Commands run with M-x won't be repeated for all cursors.
  • All key bindings that refer to lambdas are always run for all cursors. If you need to limit it, you will have to give it a name.
  • Redo might screw with your cursors. Undo works very well.


Yes, please do. There's a suite of tests, so remember to add tests for your specific feature, or I might break it later.

You'll find the repo at:

To fetch the test dependencies:

$ cd /path/to/multiple-cursors
$ git submodule update --init

Run the tests with:

$ ./util/ecukes/ecukes --graphical


Copyright (C) 2012 Magnar Sveen

Author: Magnar Sveen Keywords: editing cursors

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see