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Coming from casual IDEs I used CUA mode. Switching back to the vanilla keymaps I noticed that M-w & C-y (copy&yank) is significant harder to use with one hand than Ctrl c & Ctrl v

Why are the original keymaps for copy and paste so far apart? Is there a historical/shell-like explanation for this?

Besides that, is there a convenient way to use copy&paste with one hand in Emacs w.r.t to the vanilla keymaps.

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    This question is likely to become opinion-based; please modify it so that it asks a discrete question. As an aside: if you're trying to hit a keychord with one hand, you're putting a lot of strain on your wrists. You'll do yourself an ergonomic favor if you hit M with your right hand and w with your left, and C with your left hand and y with your right. – Dan Jun 13 '17 at 19:15
  • Thanks for the input, can a copy/paste question on emacs be biased free? – Daniel Hitzel Jun 13 '17 at 19:17
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    Sorry, I mean that "what are your solutions to this" will probably elicit opinion-based, "this is the best way to do it" sorts of answers. Since there's no obvious way to determine what the "best way" is, you're likely to get posts that offer individual takes on the question. – Dan Jun 13 '17 at 19:25
  • yes, you are right. using words like so and some time may be too storytelling-like. I tried to be more explicit - see the edit – Daniel Hitzel Jun 13 '17 at 19:26
  • And, don't forget the universal-argument to complicate the copy/paste process. See the doc-strings for more details. – lawlist Jun 14 '17 at 1:08
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I don't have the precise quote, but if memory serves, the original author of Emacs default keybindings is Guy Lewis Steele. You should be able to find a mention of this fact in the book Coders at Work by Peter Seibel. He described the rationale as being mnemonics-based. In your particular case, C-y stands for "yank", which was the word for what now is more commonly known as "paste" (or, sometimes, "cut").

I'm not sure, but would guess that M-w stands for "write", as in "write to memory".


Is there a convenient way to use vanilla keybindings with one hand? I'll be bold and say "no". They are designed to be used with both hands. You are not the first person to notice this, some long-term Emacs users had argued these keybindings aren't ideal. Steve Yegge and Xah Lee among those. This is, again, my opinion, but I see Emacs more as a DIY product than a prepackaged-put-into-microwave-oven kind of thing. This comes with benefits and downsides, one downside being that default keybindings might not be ideal for you. Luckily, there are already many ways to deal with this problem, Evil mode or Ergoemacs would be some of the examples that come to mind.

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