I'm on Prelude, and there is no way I can type a \. I was thinking maybe I should create a keybinding but I don't know how to create it to output a character such as \. Any help welcome! Thank you!

  • 1
    What does C-h k \ tell you?
    – phils
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 13:31
  • 1
    What is Prelude? Why is there no way to type a `\`? Do not expect other people to know what you are talking about just because you can see it: please explain.
    – NickD
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 13:49
  • Do you see the same thing when you start Emacs using emacs -Q (no init file)? If not, bisect your init file to find the culprit.
    – Drew
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 18:20

2 Answers 2


Emacs by default doesn't associate \ with any command… You should be able to directly type it without any trouble. If you cannot, then you should have a module enabled, which takes it.

If you need further help, please answer the following questions:

  • are you using emacs in terminal (in a TTY?) or in graphical mode?
  • where do you want to type a backslash? In a document body, in the minibuffer, elsewhere?
  • as @phils asks, what does C-h k \ give you?
  • what is your keyboard layout?
  • To be more precise, most keys are bound to self-insert-command, which is the command that inserts the key you pressed into the buffer.
    – db48x
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 23:00
  • Apologies. I managed to find the keyboard binding for that \. Apparently I needed the RIGHT Alt key, not the left one (even though in the Mac Kayboard layout both are giving the backslash). When I type C-h k \ I get "\ runs the command org-self-insert-command (found in org-mode-map), which is an interactive compiled Lisp function in ‘org-9.3.6/org.el’. It is bound to SPC..~, ..\377. (org-self-insert-command N). " Commented May 6, 2020 at 18:22

As a work-around you can try C-q \. Try Étienne Deparis answer for a permanent resolution.

  • I did not get how to get \ if I can type it :P Commented May 6, 2020 at 18:21
  • Do you not have a \ key on your keyboard then? Commented May 6, 2020 at 22:59
  • I resolved this issue. My keyboard produces it outside Emacs when pressing SHIFT+ALT(left or right)+7. I always use ALT(left). Since it did not work in Emacs, I thought something was wrong. Apparently some other keybinding is associated with that combo, but using ALT(right) works. Commented May 8, 2020 at 3:30
  • I've never encountered such a keyboard. Commented May 8, 2020 at 20:03

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