This file is used to edit or add special shortcuts that don't appear in the Mac menu bar or System Preferences. Some examples:

Ctrl-b → Move back one character
Ctrl-f → Move forward one character
Option-b → Move back one word
Option-f → Move forward one word

Editing this special shortcut text file made these commands work throughout all Mac applications. No issues still works! However, I am unable to locate this file's path again now that some time has passed. I want to fiddle with it some more.


  • Plain text file.
  • The file in somewhere in ~/Library. No idea on the name.
  • Not looking for the System Preferences keyboard shortcuts.
  • Not the same file that stores the System Preferences keyboard shortcuts. (hard-part)
  • Editing this file will change the shortcut across all Mac applications, e.g. Safari, Notes, Finder, Pages, etc. This won't effect 3rd party apps. This behavior is desirable.
  • Can’t grep help you find the file? Sep 10, 2020 at 7:27
  • Great suggestion, but I do not know the filename. Sep 10, 2020 at 18:37
  • grep stands for 'Global Regular Expression Print', so you need to know the string you are looking for and not filename. You could navigate to ~/Libraryand search recursively for `Ctrl-b' or whatever entries you have made to special shortcut text file. Sep 10, 2020 at 18:56
  • Wow that is a good idea! I feel silly now. Oct 25, 2020 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


Cocoa text system keybinding defaults:

The standard key bindings are specified in /System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Resources/StandardKeyBinding.dict

To override Cocoa text keybindings:

...create a file named DefaultKeyBinding.dict in ~/Library/KeyBindings/ and specify bindings to augment or replace the standard bindings. You may use the standard bindings file as a template. It is recommended that you use the Property List Editor application to edit a bindings dictionary. You may use another application such as TextEdit or Xcode, but if you do you must ensure the encoding of the saved file is UTF8.


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