Is it possible to write an execute-next-command function that calls the command that would have been called if the current binding was not active?

For example, RET is bound to newline by default. Let's say that I bind RET to my-command. In some cases, my-command should execute whatever would have been executed for RET if I hadn't bound it to my-command. I could save the old binding before rebinding RET, but I would rather avoid that.

EDIT: There is the key-binding function, but it doesn't let you find the next binding.

1 Answer 1


It's doable with minor modes. Suppose you have my-minor-mode active in an org-mode buffer. And you have:

(define-key my-minor-mode-map (kbd "M-RET") #'save-buffer)

You could call the old RET binding in org-mode with:

 (lookup-key org-mode-map (kbd "M-RET")))
  • This requires you figure out what other mode was the last to make a binding for that key.
    – Omar
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 14:09
  • You could let-bind my-minor-mode to nil and use key-binding instead, which checks all active maps, not just the one you pass in.
    – npostavs
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 14:38

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