When I run M-x clipboard-kill-ring-save, emacs tells me:

You can run the command `clipboard-kill-ring-save' with <copy>

How do I use <copy>? M-x <copy> simply says [No match].


2 Answers 2


It refers to the "Copy" key found on e.g. Sun keyboards, as in this photo (second key from the left, third from the bottom):

Photo of left part of Sun keyboard


Emacs refers to special ("pseudo") keys with <angle brackets>. From the EmacsWiki on key notation:

Some keys are referred to as “function” keys or “pseudo” keys. This includes keys that are not among the keyboard function keys F1,…F12. It includes keys that might not be on your keyboard, but are on other keyboards. It even includes keys, such as <insert-file>, that are not on any keyboard, anywhere. For one thing, Emacs treats menu bindings as key bindings: a menu item is implemented as a pseudo key.

So, for example, <left> refers to the left arrow key. I've never heard of the <copy> key, so I presume it's referring to the menu binding rather than a key.

  • Ah! The menu binding. That makes sense.
    – Matt Ellen
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 14:11

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