I want to be able to copy paste using C-c and C-v when I edit a file and in multi-term. After more than a few hours I gave up. I would be thankful if anyone could tell me what the recommended way for doing something like this is. Here are some of the things I tried:

  1. Putting

    (local-set-key (kbd "C-c") 'kill-ring-save)
    (local-set-key (kbd "C-x") 'kill-region)
    (local-set-key (kbd "C-v") 'yank)

in my find-file-hook. This works for C-x and C-v but doesn't work for C-c. (I think this is because of the C-c C-... keybindings, but I don't know if there is some way to just overwrite those).

  1. Defining a function that uses

    (if (or (eq major-mode 'term-mode) (eq major-mode 'eshell-mode)) 

to detect whether we are in a terminal or a file and then deactivates cua-mode or activates it. I added this function to some hooks but it got buggy, because this function was either called not enough or too often. Also

(add-to-list 'term-bind-key-alist '("some binding" . some command))

works for C-v and C-x but not for C-c.

Note: I know that C-c is normally terminal interrupt, but I put a stty intr ^J in my .bashrc.

  1. Using eshell instead of multi-term: The Problem with the eshell is, that it's autocompletion is not as good as the autocompletion of bash. Bash can e.g. autocomplete git chec to git checkout.

Note: I know that normal Emacs users use M-w and and C-y to copy-paste, but this would mess up my muscle memory when working with programs that use C-c C-v top copy-paste.

UPDATE: The following works:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-v") 'yank)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-x") 'kill-region)
(define-key input-decode-map (kbd "C-c") (kbd "M-w"))
(add-to-list 'term-bind-key-alist '("C-v" . term-paste))

Why is emacs so unnecessarily complicated?

  • 1
    1. There are multiple questions in this question. Please post separate questions for them. 2. For C-c, C-x, C-v you likely want to use cua-mode -- C-h r g cua-mode.
    – Drew
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 19:00
  • There is just one question in this post. How to make C-c C-v copy paste in a file and in multi-term. I know that I can activate cua-mode, but cua-mode does not work in multi-term. Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 19:21
  • 2
    Considering that multi-term is a terminal, you'll want your shell and software you use in it set up to treat C-c and C-v the way you expect. This doesn't sound like an Emacs problem to me.
    – user12563
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 20:20
  • Copy and paste is not handled by bash, but by emacs. E.g. in gnome-terminal copy is ctrl-shift-c. Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


I was able to force this binding by reading the comments on the wiki. Editing the multi-term.el file (if installed via M-x package-install) (located ~/emacs.d/elpa/multi-term-1.2/multi-term.el

Remove "C-c" from the term-unbind-key-list:

(defcustom term-unbind-key-list
  '("C-z" "C-x" "C-h" "C-y" "<ESC>")
  "The key list that will need to be unbind."
  :type 'list
  :group 'multi-term)

Change the term-bind-key-alist defaults, here I'm using C-c maybe you want C-c-c:

> (defcustom term-bind-key-alist  
>    '(
>     ("C-c" . kill-ring-save)
>     ("C-p" . previous-line)
>     ("C-v" . term-paste)
>       .....

Recompile: M-x byte-recompile-directory

Restart emacs and Ctrl-V and Ctrl-C work as you want them to while in multi-term.

  • This works for multi-term, but I want to use C-c and C-v both in multi-term and when editing a file. Once I put a (cua-mode t) in my init.el I can't copy paste in multi-term. Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 14:27

The following works:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-v") 'yank)
(global-set-key (kbd "C-x") 'kill-region)
(define-key input-decode-map (kbd "C-c") (kbd "M-w"))
(add-to-list 'term-bind-key-alist '("C-v" . term-paste))

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