Is there any way of getting Helm to default to the shortest match? In many cases the way Helm works at the moment (unless I have some weird configuration) is inferior to vanilla Emacs in many cases.

An example... I want to invoke "revert-buffer".

In standard Emacs it's 9 keystrokes:

M-x revert <tab> <return>

In Helm mode it's 13:

M-x revert-b C-n C-n C-n <return>.

...although if it was set to default to the shortest match (which makes sense, Occam's razor, right?) it would be something like 8:

M-x rev buf <return>
  • I get 5 keystrokes with smex and flx-ido-mode: C-t rb C-n RET.
    – abo-abo
    Mar 30, 2015 at 13:20
  • But with Helm you get 6 keystrokes and key binding for the command available. It is already my favorite for executing command and learn a key binding at the same time, so you don't repeat yourself with: looking up the key binding (C-h f then type the command then RET) and executing the command (M-x then type the command then RET); if you are lucky you still have to press the key binding to execute that command.
    – Tu Do
    Mar 30, 2015 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


Use helm-M-x. It is not bound to M-x by default, so you have to do it yourself:

(global-set-key (kbd "M-x") 'helm-M-x)

with helm-M-x, I only need to type re buf to get revert-buffer as the first match.

You can learn more about Helm in this guide.

  • Thanks, that does indeed fix it, although I don't understand why the default M-x doesn't default to the shortest match.
    – Rich Smith
    Mar 30, 2015 at 10:57
  • Because the default M-x runs execute-extended-command, which is vanilla M-x with Helm interface. helm-M-x is an entirely different command. You see more goodis in helm-M-x, such as key binding of each command if available and C-z to see the description of each command.
    – Tu Do
    Mar 30, 2015 at 11:03
  • With helm-M-x-fuzzy-match set to true, it's enough with M-x rvb... Mar 30, 2015 at 20:43

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