I am running Mavericks on a new Macbook Pro. When I use the Ctrl and Shift keys together with the arrow keys, I get some sort of key codes as output in the terminal. I am pretty sure that this problem is new and that it didn't happen a few days ago. But I am not 100% sure. Anyway, this is what happens:

If I press Ctrl+ (Left arrow), ;5D is output in the terminal. Similarly:

  • Ctrl+ (Right arrow) outputs ;5C
  • Shift+ (Left arrow) outputs ;2D
  • Shift+ (Right arrow) outputs ;2C

As I mentioned, I am pretty sure that before today I could use those shortcuts to move between words and select text. Has anyone seen this before? I have already looked through some of the existing questions about arrow key shortcuts, but I have found no references to this exact problem.

Also, note that I have turned off the keyboard shortcut that moves between desktops using the Ctrl + arrow keys.

  • Your arrow keys are remapped somewhere to use \],- (the ascii equivalent of hex 5C 5D 2C 2D). – l'L'l Jan 3 '14 at 21:46
  • Would you care to elaborate? I am very new to OSX. Where would I look for these remappings? – Henrik Söderlund Jan 7 '14 at 8:28

The same thing happens on my 10.9 and 10.8 VMs. Control-arrows and shift-arrows don't do anything by default in bash. Where were you even using shift-arrows to select text? emacs or vim?

If you want to use control-left and control-right to move between words in bash, add these lines to ~/.inputrc:

"\e[1;5C": forward-word
"\e[1;5D": backward-word

To use shift-arrows in Emacs, map shift-up to \e[1;2A, shift-down to \e[1;2B, shift-right to \e[1;2C, and shift-left to \e[1;2D. If pressing shift-up results in a message like <select> is undefined, try setting TERM to xterm-vt220.

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  • I guess I may have been wrong about using the shift-arrows to select text. I am a developer with 13 years of experience but this is my first go at OSX. Very confused so far. – Henrik Söderlund Jan 7 '14 at 8:43
  • Figured out the .inputrc thing. Looked everywhere for the file until I realised I have to create it myself. :) I can now move between words again. So thanks for that, I am marking this as the answer. Just a couple more questions so I am 100% clear: 1: I have now switched to using iTerm2. Is there any way, using .inputrc or otherwise, to get Shift+Left and Shift+Right to select text in iTerm2? 2: You mentioned emacs and vim. Aren't these just text editors? How would I use them as a terminal? – Henrik Söderlund Jan 7 '14 at 9:43
  • I don't know any way to make shift-left and shift-right modify the selection in iTerm 2. I thought you might have used them just in Emacs. – Lri Jan 8 '14 at 13:45
  • Alright. I'll have to live without it for now. Thanks! – Henrik Söderlund Jan 8 '14 at 14:54
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    It doesn't work on macos Sierra, Shift + Right Arrow or Shift + Left Arrow doesn't do anything. – Alessandro C Jan 11 '17 at 8:36

Ctrl+Left/Right are present in Terminal (macOS 10.12) by default (Preferences → Profiles → Keyboard). I tried adding Shift-Up/Down in ~/.inputrc but nothing happened.


"\e[1;2A": shift-up
"\e[1;2B": shift-down

Instead I added Shift Up/Down programatically in Terminal Preferences. The problem is that this is stored per profile, of which macOS has a dozen by default, so you have to loop over all the profiles (one named Ocean here) to add the keys for all available profiles. I don't know if plutil or defaults have some magic to make this easy, or if you have to use an XML parser.


"Window Settings" = {
  Ocean = {
    keyMapBoundKeys = {
      "$F700" = "\033[1;2A";
      "$F701" = "\033[1;2B";
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An alternative:

In Terminal preferences go to Advanced and unselect 'Paste newlines as carriage returns'.

Then use Sublime to write out complicated com

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