I would normally be able to do this myself by merely adding:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-a") 'select-all)

to my ~/.emacs file but select-all isn't the command for the "Select All" option in the Edit menu (which selects all text in the current buffer). I have tried searching for "select" in the list of commands via pressing Ctrl-h-a and typing "select", but that did not return any result with "Select all" in its description. Any ideas? If it at all relevant I am using the experimental 25.1.90 release (the one tagged in the emacs-mirror/emacs GitHub repository) of GNU Emacs.


1 Answer 1


mark-whole-buffer is the command you want. Here are some ways to discover it:

  • f1c (describe-key) works on menu items too. In this case it would tell you

    <menu-bar> <edit> <mark-whole-buffer> runs the command mark-whole-buffer
  • mark-whole-buffer is in the manual's index under "select all": f1r to open the manual, iselect allRET to check the index for "select all".

    ‘C-x h’ (‘mark-whole-buffer’) sets up the entire buffer as the region, by putting point at the beginning and the mark at the end.

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