In Visual Studio and Intellij I can press Tab to select the highlighted auto-completion.

In Helm: Is there a way to give Tab the same behavior as Return?

  • Why was this downvoted? I could not find any resource on this. Only "How do I use Tab for autocomplete" which was always answered with "you don't need Tab in Helm".
    – itmuckel
    Jun 10, 2016 at 8:07

2 Answers 2


You could add this to your init file:

(with-eval-after-load 'helm
  (define-key helm-map (kbd "TAB") #'helm-maybe-exit-minibuffer))

This should work in all cases except where a given helm source binds something different than helm-maybe-exit-minibuffer to RET, but off the top of my head I can't think of any sources that do.

Note that if you only want to apply this change for a specific source (rather than for all helm sources) you could see if that source has its own associated keymap, and bind it there instead.

  • Awesome, works fine! Thank you so much! But as a lisp noob: Why is there a hash in front of 'helm-maybe... ?
    – itmuckel
    Jun 9, 2016 at 20:45
  • 1
    It is completely optional. The #'foo is shorthand for (function foo) The docstring for function says: Like 'quote', but preferred for objects which are functions. In byte compilation, 'function' causes its argument to be compiled. 'quote' cannot do that.
    – nispio
    Jun 9, 2016 at 20:49

I just watched this video where they show this code to accomplish what you want.

(define-key helm-map (kbd "TAB") 'helm-execute-persistent-action)

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