How do I mark the current line and then move the cursor to the beginning of the next line? I'd like it to behave like Sublime Text's Ctrl-L.

  • 1
    In addition to kaushal's answer, you may find the commands M-h (mark-paragraph) and C-M-h (mark-defun) useful, as they may eliminate the need for such a command much of the time.
    – nanny
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 14:27
  • Would you mind to describe the behaviour of Sublime more precise? Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 7:07

3 Answers 3


Below works with brief testing:

  • If no region is selected to begin with, the current line will be selected and the cursor will move to the next line (default, if no prefix arg is used).
  • If a region is already selected, all this command will do is move the cursor to the next line (default, if no prefix arg is used).

With that functionality, hitting C-l once will select only the current line. But hitting C-l consecutive times will keep on adding consecutive lines to the selection.

(defun my/select-current-line-and-forward-line (arg)
  "Select the current line and move the cursor by ARG lines IF
no region is selected.

If a region is already selected when calling this command, only move
the cursor by ARG lines."
  (interactive "p")
  (when (not (use-region-p))
    (forward-line 0)
    (set-mark-command nil))
  (forward-line arg))
;; Note that I would not recommend binding this command to `C-l'.
;; From my personal experience, the default binding to `C-l' to
;; `recenter-top-bottom' is very useful.
(global-set-key (kbd "C-l") #'my/select-current-line-and-forward-line)

I'd like to add that I personally prefer simply doing C-a C-SPC followed by C-n or C-p or M-{ or M-}.

  • C-a C-SPC will take the cursor to the beginning of the line and set the mark.
  • After that the selection will expand based on the navigation command you use.

Using this generic approach will give you much more flexibility on how you change your selection.

  • 1
    A useful change may be adding an arg arg, using (interactive "p"), and changing (forward-line 1) to (forward-line arg).
    – nanny
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 14:28
  • @nanny Good point Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 14:29
  • Does changing use-region-p by region-active-p make difference in the function my/select-current-line-and-forward-line?
    – Name
    Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 16:37
  • @Name It should work fine even if you use region-active-p here. Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 16:55
  • If I don't give arg a value as prefix arg and RET directly, your function will still move down 1 line, does it mean that 1 is the default argument?
    – Chen Li
    Commented Jan 20, 2019 at 12:58

Shift Selection Mode

If the cursor is at the beginning of a line: C-S-n or in another notation C-N. If not, please type: C-a C-S-n (which is in my notation C-aN, since you have to type the <CTRL> key just once). By the way shift-selection-modeis t by default.

  • 1
    This is in most cases a better answer as it does not need any additional configs. Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 7:36

Could you mean a combination of C-e and C-j? If yes, you can remap it via a keyboard macro :

(global-set-key (kbd "<C-return>") (kbd "C-e C-j"))

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