I frequently work with R and ess, and want to bind a shortcut to a function that clears the R console:

(use-package ess-site
  :ensure ess
  :bind (:map inferior-ess-mode-map
              ("C-c c" . clear-shell)

However, the keybinding is not set when I start emacs. I have to launch an inferior-ess-mode, then go to my config file and evaluate the code above for it to bind the function to "C-c c".

How can this be fixed?


It also does not work if I use something that is not bound to anything, like C-c s. Also, there is no difference if I use :bind*. Only after I manually execute the code above it works. Same thing happens if I use another mode map, like ess-mode-map.

Also, the same thing happens with other modes and functions, like this for matlab:

(use-package matlab-mode
  :ensure t
  (load-library "matlab-load")
   '(matlab-shell-command-switches '("-nodesktop -nosplash")))
  (add-hook 'matlab-mode-hook 'auto-complete-mode)
  (setq auto-mode-alist
         '("\\.m$" . matlab-mode)
  :bind* (:map matlab-mode-map
               ("C-c C-c" . matlab-shell-save-and-go))

The keybinding C-c C-c only works after manually evaluating the code while the matlab shell is already running. Before that it's bound to the function that it's bound to by default in that mode.

2 Answers 2


I think the problem is that loading ess-site doesn't automatically load ess-inf at the same time and it is ess-inf.el where inferior-ess-mode-map is defined. Try this instead:

(use-package ess-site :ensure ess)

(use-package ess-inf
  :bind (:map inferior-ess-mode-map
         ("C-c c" . clear-shell)))

Your bind probably is not being set up because there's another command bound to this shortcut.

You can type C-h k to execute the describe-key function and then type C-c c (your shortcut) to find out what's the correct command that's bound this shortcut. Note that you need to be into the major/minor mode that you want to check it out.

So if you decide that you really want to override it, you can use bind* from use-package.

From use-package docs:

:bind            Bind keys, and define autoloads for the bound commands.
:bind*           Bind keys, and define autoloads for the bound commands,
                 *overriding all minor mode bindings*.
:bind-keymap     Bind a key prefix to an auto-loaded keymap defined in the
                 package.  This is like ‘:bind’, but for keymaps.
:bind-keymap*    Like ‘:bind-keymap’, but overrides all minor mode bindings
  • Thanks, but It still does not works, I made an edit to the question.
    – Florian
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 8:27

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