I've recently switched from Linux to Mac. One thing that is really killing my emacs memory muscles right now is the lack of alt+f and alt+b to jump forward and backward by word.

I've gotten the meta/option flag flipped in Terminal.app preferences (so alt+. now works as expected), but I haven't found a similar option for Textmate. Even better if I could enable it as a MacOS global setting for the U.S. keyboard (so it would work in all input boxes). At the moment I get the following useless (for me) encodings:

alt+f: ƒ

alt+b: ∫

How do I remap alt+f and alt+b to jump forward and backward by word?

  • 1
    Thanks Am1rr3zA for pointing out how to style keyboard shortcuts; that looks much better. :)
    – pithyless
    Dec 10, 2010 at 6:55

3 Answers 3


As usual... KeyRemap4MacBook to the rescue :P Its emacs mode will give you those bindings, and you can choose a lot more bindings than that as well:

alt text


FYI, it doesn't seem to be mentioned in the Mac shortcuts list, but on my Macbook Air you can press




to move forward and backward one word, respectively.


One way to remap the keys in other applications as well would be to create ~/Library/KeyBindings/ and save a property list like this as DefaultKeyBinding.dict:

    "~b" = moveWordBackward:;
    "~f" = moveWordForward:;
    "~d" = deleteWordForward:;
    "~l" = (moveWordForwardAndModifySelection:, lowercaseWord:);
    "~u" = (moveWordForwardAndModifySelection:, uppercaseWord:);
    "~c" = (moveWordForwardAndModifySelection:, capitalizeWord:);

You could also cp /Applications/TextMate.app/Contents/Resources/KeyBindings.dict ~/Libary/Application\ Support/TextMate/KeyBindings.dict and add the same keys there.

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