I followed this answer and created my minor mode to avoid my keybindings being overridden by any major modes.

So I put this in my init.el:

(define-key my-keys-mode-map (kbd "C-h") 'delete-backward-char)
(define-key my-keys-mode-map (kbd "M-h") 'backward-kill-word)

It is working with everything except when I am in helm-find-files. While M-h works, C-h doesn't. If I press it twice, Help buffer shows up saying:

Major Mode Bindings Starting With C-h:
key             binding
---             -------

C-h C-b     helm-send-bug-report-from-helm

Global Bindings Starting With C-h:
key             binding
---             -------

How can I disable C-h in helm-find-files and keep using my own keybinding?

1 Answer 1


C-h is special: see my answer to html-mode and custom backspace keybinding.

In short: whenever you rebind C-h you should also change the value of help-char.

To disable its action, do

(setq help-char nil)

(You can also set it to a different character.)

In addition to this, helm-find-files uses C-h as a prefix key. The code below replaces the C-h prefix with M-m, which should free C-h up to be used as "backspace":

(eval-after-load "helm-files"
  '(let ((helm-find-files-C-h-map (lookup-key helm-find-files-map (kbd "C-h"))))
     ;; make sure C-h is no longer a prefix key
     (define-key helm-find-files-map (kbd "C-h") nil)
     ;; rebind "C-h ..." to "M-m ..." to preserve functionality
     (define-key helm-find-files-map (kbd "M-m") helm-find-files-C-h-map)))
  • It doesn't work. Now C-h does nothing and C-h C-h shows C-h C-h is undefined Dec 17, 2014 at 16:54
  • @Boccaperta-IT: I updated the answer; please give it another try. Dec 17, 2014 at 17:20
  • Adding the code prompts an error upon startup: Debugger entered--Lisp error: (void-function keymap) (keymap (keymap (2 . helm-send-bug-report-from-helm)) keymap (109 . helm-help) (104 . undefined) (8 . undefined) (4 . helm-debug-output)) (lambda nil (keymap (keymap (2 . helm-send-bug-report-from-helm)) keymap (109 . helm-help) (104 . undefined) (8 . undefined) (4 . helm-debug-output)))() Dec 17, 2014 at 17:28
  • Using (define-key helm-find-files-map (kbd "C-h") nil) works. There is no need to use (setq help-char nil). Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Dec 17, 2014 at 17:36
  • @Boccaperta-IT: I think I fixed the code in the answer (needed to quote the let-form). As for setting help-char, you don't need it to make helm work, but you may need it for other Emacs features (such as skeletons) to work (see the question I linked to). Dec 17, 2014 at 17:46

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