I did some editing. Then went to C-x C-k l edited the stuff to suit my needs. Saved it with C-c C-c. Gave it a name with C-x C-k b. Finally, went to ~/.emacs and did M-x insert-kbd-macro

To my surprise, it produced few words and a long series of numbers. I can still execute it using M-x macroname RET and edit it using C-x C-k e. So no problems.

But why those cryptic numbers in ~/.emacs?

1 Answer 1


Keyboard macros record keystrokes (or keyboard events), which typically (although not exclusively) have a numeric representation.

Many directly represent characters, as characters are integers in Emacs Lisp. e.g. The character t is 116:

116 (#o164, #x74, ?t)

(Characters are therefore likely to account for all the smaller numbers.)

Larger numbers can represent more complex key events. e.g.:

ELISP> (listify-key-sequence (kbd "M-x"))

A few events may have non-numeric representations (e.g. return).

You can read all about events in the manual:

C-hig (elisp) Input Events RET

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