I am trying to remap C-c, C-x, C-v (windows editing shortcuts for copy, cut, paste) using these 3 lines of elisp code:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-c") 'kill-ring-save)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-x") 'kill-region)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-v") 'yank)

kill-region and yank works well whereas the C-c binding does not. Can C-c be rebound? I prefer to set the keybindings myself instead of using cua-mode so that i can have finer control over it.

  • 1
    It depends on where and when you evaluate this code. Well actually, the important thing - that the code that is evaluated after the code you quoted does not set key binding to C-c *. Try to fully load emacs and then M-: <return> (global-set-key (kbd "C-c") 'kill-ring-save) <return>. And then try again.
    – d12frosted
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 11:38

2 Answers 2


As others have suggested, you'd be wise to avoid overwriting some of the most common keychord prefixes with your own keybindings.

Here's a stylized example of what's going to happen. Let's say we have a keychord prefix of C-c a that allows you to send messages to yourself based on what key comes next:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-c aa") (lambda () (interactive) (message "You pressed a")))
(global-set-key (kbd "C-c ab") (lambda () (interactive) (message "You pressed b")))

Now, when you press C-c aa, Emacs politely tells you that "You pressed a", and when you press C-c ab, it informs you that "You pressed b". Such functionality!

However, let's now say you clobber your prefix by assigning it directly to a command:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-c a") (lambda () (interactive) (message "I've clobbered your other bindings!")))

Now, you can no longer get to C-c aa to have Emacs tell you that "You pressed a", because the new binding short-circuits the whole affair at C-c a and tells you that "I've clobbered your other bindings!"

Now, to make matters worse, C-c and C-x are two of the most common prefixes in Emacs, so if you hijack them, you'll have to rebind a very large chunk of the Emacs defaults.

Out of the box, C-x has its own keymaps (in the plural!): ctl-x-map, ctl-x-4-map, and ctl-x-5-map. Further, a great many modes bind C-c ... to their core commands. C-c C-c, for example, is the conventional way for modes to say "do that main thing I do."

In other words: if you really want common user interface keybindings, just use cua-mode. The "finer control" you can get by hand-binding the keys will turn out to mean a massive rebinding undertaking on your part: yes, it will be finer control, but it's probably not worth your time.

  • thanks Dan,,, i think, i can live without windows shortcuts...
    – Saravana
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 16:37

If you want more traditional key bindings better activate cua-mode. If you want to remap them manually, you will eventually get more problems than benefits, because key bindings like C-c are in fact prefixes for a lot of other key bindings, and not only built-in ones. So, if you remap these, you will need to remap a lot of stuff.

As an advice, don't do it. Learn Emacs way, or use Vi emulation (I'm not familiar with it, but I guess it's the only widely-used alternative). I myself don't use most standard key-bindings and I don't use vi-emulation either. You could end up with situation like this, but first ask yourself if you really want it and why.

  • 3
    +1. My personal opinion: As an advice, don't do it. Learn Emacs way. If you start using org-mode a lot, your C-c rebinds will come back to bite you. Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 13:14

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