Solved! helm-descbinds solved the problem.


Thank you for your help.

I was trying to work out if I could build a simple script to narrow down key bindings, somewhat similar to IDO. I know of Icicle, but for some reason I didn't like it.

During my search I ran into many problems and beging to think that the only way out is to run:


and then try to parse Help buffer.

Is there a way to get pre-parsed flat list of biding? I got lost trying to understand the keymap structure.

I guess recursively parsing the keymap structure is too much work. Is there a simple solution?

This is example of my early progress.


After a while of trying, looks like getting the info from Help buffer didnt work. I got some strange structures with the string and when I tried to use print, it didn't print what I wanted. Perhaps I will have to parse the keymap?

After playing with keymap for a while, I think this is the way to go. More in my github link.

My last attempt.

;;; run in ielm like this: (my-list-bindings 11)
;;; n=11 for global
(defun my-list-bindings (n)
  "almost clean way of listing key bindings"
   (lambda (x y)
     (print "!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!")
     (princ x)
     (if (eq x 'menu-bar)
         (print "*** skipping menu bar ***")
       (print y)))
   (elt (current-active-maps) n )))
  • 1
    Can you clarify what you mean by "narrow down"?
    – Dan
    Jan 1, 2016 at 22:31
  • M-x describe-bindings will show you all bindings. C-h m (M-x describe-mode) is also handy to list bindings by mode.
    – ReneFroger
    Jan 2, 2016 at 0:14
  • descibe-bindings gives me many thousands of bindings that I'm not interested at the moment. I wonder if there's a better way to search than using C-s Jan 2, 2016 at 3:05

1 Answer 1


If I understand correctly, you're trying to see what key bindings are available at any instant in time.

In that case, try helm-descbinds, which works with helm. Key bindings are organized by major mode, minor modes, and the global map. You can then use a regular expression to narrow down your choice, e.g. ^C-x\ [a-z] to find all bindings that begin with C-x and are followed by a letter from a-z.

You can also try discover-my-major, which lists all the key bindings of your current major mode, along with an apropos-like description of what they do. I find that it is useful when I'm trying to learn a new major mode.


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