Is it possible to move between words in iTerm using Alt + Right/Left Arrows ? Now if I press Alt+Left I will get '[D' and '[C' if I press Alt+Right.

  • Just adding a note for those that simply want to know if its possible to do this with some hotkeys, there is a way. If you want to map it, that's fine but in terminal, CTRL+A will go to the beginning of a line and and CTRL+E to the end. Option+Left to go the beginning of a word and then Option+right to end of a word.
    – aug
    Jul 23 '19 at 20:10
  • Go to iTerm Preferences → Profiles
  • select your profile
  • then the Keys tab
  • Click Load Preset...
  • and choose Natural Text Editing

  • 3
    This turns on word skipping, but using the cmd key, not the opt key (which is what all other apple apps use). Oct 20 '18 at 1:34
  • 7
    In December 2018 on Mojave, the opt key is what moves between words after choosing natural text editing.
    – Rob Dawson
    Dec 16 '18 at 21:15
  • 6
    I've been suffering for months without this but today you're my saviour.
    – remykarem
    Mar 15 '19 at 3:00
  • 24
    Note that this is Preferences > Profiles > Keys > Load Presets not Preferences > Keys > Load Preferences
    – kevin
    Apr 26 '19 at 2:42
  • 8
    I LOVE YOU !! it annoyed me for weeks Nov 12 '19 at 17:08

Go to iTerm Preferences → Profiles, select your profile, then the Keys tab. Find ⌥← and ⌥→ and set them to send escape sequence b and send escape sequence f respectively.

Mapping alt-right to move cursor forward by one word

If you use ⌘→ and ←⌘ you will need to remap the next and previous tab shortcuts which are set to those as default. Terminal uses ⇧⌘→ and ⇧⌘← for these.

You can do this under Profiles, or just globally under Keys (shown below) if you wish to set it globally. Note that settings in Profiles override global settings in Keys.

Globally mapping alt-right to move cursor forward by one word


If you use bash, you can also add

"\e\e[D": backward-word
"\e\e[C": forward-word

to ~/.inputrc.

  • 1
    This worked best for me. Trying to set it up in iTerm2 only generated [D or [C each time I tried to use the new button action. Thank you.
    – dmgig
    Jul 13 '16 at 17:35
  • As far as I can tell there's nothing you can do in iTerm2 v3.0.10. It has to be this bash setup.
    – fiorix
    Oct 3 '16 at 16:32
  • 1
    Not sure about iTerm2 v3.0.10, but iTerm2 v3.0.14 definitely works with the Natural Text Editing solution so you don't need to resort to bash input configuration.
    – dwanderson
    Feb 16 '17 at 18:45
  1. Go to: Preferences > Profiles > Keys

  2. Look for the actions of ⌥← and ⌥→. They would have been mapped to: Send Hex codes

  3. Change them to Send Escape sequence with Esc+B for backward and Esc+F for forward.


For zsh I inserted in ~/.zshrc

bindkey "\e\e[D" backward-word
bindkey "\e\e[C" forward-word

for bash I inserted in ~/.inputrc

"\e\e[D": backward-word
"\e\e[C": forward-word

Late in the game but for the visual:

enter image description here

Namely, see the Esc+ is selected.


CMD+Delete -- Send Hex Code -- 0x15

To delete the whole line (similar to Option+U)


Very edge case scenario, but for me it was an issue in my own dotfiles.

These two lines caused it:

In bash_options

set-o vi

In inputrc

set editing-mode vi

After commenting those two lines out, iTerm2 Natural Text Editing works as expected.

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