I used to be able to access Emacs registers with key sequence that were one item shorter. For example, I could jump to a point with C-xj <register>. This shortcut key seems to be gone in newer Emacsen. I'm wondering why these shortcuts went away and if there's any reason not to add them back.

  • I have always known the C-x r prefix used for register and rectangle commands. Are you sure C-x / j <reg> was the default binding? If so, which emacs version was that? C-x r j <reg> has always worked. – Kaushal Modi Jun 22 '15 at 13:45
  • @kaushalmodi, I don't know the history but you can see C-x/ and C-xj listed on some lists of key-bindings such as this one where they are marked as "compatibility bindings." – kuzzooroo Jun 22 '15 at 13:51

Doing a quick ag (like grep, but better) of the regular expression 'C-x\s*/' in the emacs lisp source code gives the below as one of the results:

1889:   C-x /, C-x j, C-x x, and C-x g (deprecated since Emacs 19).
18917:  item instead of "C-x/C-c/C-v (CUA)" if cua-enable-cua-keys is nil.

From ChangeLog.12:

2007-02-11  Kim F. Storm  <storm@cua.dk>

    * bindings.el (ctl-x-map): Remove register compatibility bindings
    C-x /, C-x j, C-x x, and C-x g (deprecated since Emacs 19).

So looks like C-x / is one of the bindings long deprecated. You can, though, always define your own bindings. Have a look at this Elisp Manual page on How to set key bindings.

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  • @kuzzooroo I have updated my answer with more info. You can instead do grep -r 'C-x\s*/' *. – Kaushal Modi Jun 22 '15 at 14:07

Based on kaushalmodi's answer I was able to dig the following explanation up of why these keys were deprecated (emphasis mine):

C-x a
C-x n
C-x r

Three new prefix keys have been created to make many of the C-x commands more systematic: C-x a, C-x n and C-x r. C-x a is used for abbreviation commands, C-x n for commands pertaining to narrowing, and C-x r for register and rectangle commands...


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  • Such blogs tend to get outdated pretty quickly. You can use the emacs internal help bindings C-h f (to know what and if a command is bound to), C-h k (to know which command a binding executes) or simply refer to this official emacs bindings reference card. – Kaushal Modi Jun 22 '15 at 14:31
  • C-h f and C-h k unfortunately don't give me any insight into why the keys were deprecated (or even that the bindings ever existed), so are not a good substitute for the quoted text. – kuzzooroo Jun 22 '15 at 15:31
  • I agree, my comment was not meant as a substitute for the quoted text. I just gave few pointers to help figure out a command<->binding combination. The first thing I did on reading your original question was C-h k C-x / and with confidence I knew that that's not a default binding and then I proceeded to search for that in the emacs source code. If you knew what that binding bound to originally, you can see if it is still bound to anything using C-h f. Or you can search in the refcard.pdf to figure it out. – Kaushal Modi Jun 22 '15 at 15:41

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