I'm learning emacs/spacemacs right now and I'm slightly confused about the C-c binding.

Pressing it opens a menu with many helpful things that I cannot reach otherwise (it seems like it at least). I'm also confused what the difference is to , which opens the major mode commands.

Here's a concrete example: I'm in org-mode. Using , I can access many features that this major mode offers, I can add stuff, manipulate text, and open the agenda. But if I want to, for example, add the current file to the agenda (via org-agenda-file-to-front) I have to press C-c [. I can't find this command within the major mode bindings in the , menu.

Why are some things within C-c and some within , if they do belong to the same major mode? And what is the purpose of C-c in general? What stuff is being put there?

  • I don't have spacemacs myself, so I'm not sure what the correct keybinding is, but you can use C-h k (SPC h d k I think) to find out what's behind C-c and use C-h f to know what keybinds are bound to org-agenda-file-to-front
    – Swedgin
    May 19, 2020 at 7:15
  • Thanks, I tried it but it expects something to come after C-c when I type it in C-h k, it's simply waiting for another key to come after so it doesn't want to tell me about C-c May 19, 2020 at 7:17
  • Yeah don't use the C-h k but SPC h d k (describe-key) if you're using spacemacs. I still have the default keybindings.
    – Swedgin
    May 19, 2020 at 7:18
  • Unfortunately, it's the same behavior May 19, 2020 at 7:19
  • 1
    I was just googling now too. And it seems C-c C-h does the trick
    – Swedgin
    May 19, 2020 at 7:24

1 Answer 1


I can't really answer on why some keybinding are put under , and some under C-c.

To know the difference between the two, you can check what bindings they prefix with the shortcut , C-h and C-c C-h.

Other usefull bindings are:

C-h m to show what the current major mode bindings are

C-h k C-c [ to know what's bound to C-c [

C-h f org-agenda-file-to-front to know what bindings are bound to that function

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