Have you ever used conky? More precisely Crunchbang Linux? Crunchbang comes with conky installed by default on desktop and inside conky you'll see useful shortcuts that you can use, and it's visible all the time. See shortcut keys section.

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I'm an emacs newbie, not new to emacs, I use it all the time when doing lisp but I don't do lisp that much, I spend most of the time using sublime.

So still emacs newbie and would be helpful if I can have such menu displayed all the time in a little corner inside the text editor. It should take no more than 10% of the screen or so.

Is there such plugin or option allowing me to display the shortcuts?

  • 1
    I assume you want to display some custom text, written by yourself, which reminds you of the bindings you most want to remember? (When I type C-h b the list of key bindings is well over 1,000 lines long. Your "little corner" is going to struggle with that ;)
    – phils
    Jan 5 '15 at 13:42
  • 1
    I think this would be both technically problematic (allocating a special buffer, always in view) and difficult to decide what to display there. The information would mostly depend on the selected mode, and there is too much of it to be able to automatically decide what goes into the list. When I need to find some key, I usually just C-h b and search in the help buffer for something that looks similar. Maybe, if I wanted to put a memo for myself about some particular key combinations this would make sense...
    – wvxvw
    Jan 5 '15 at 13:44
  • @phils thats correct i write the commands i want to remember
    – Lynob
    Jan 5 '15 at 13:47
  • @wvxvw it's more of a memo, i choose the commands i want to remember, the most useful for me
    – Lynob
    Jan 5 '15 at 13:47
  • 4
    I've done it once. Use an emacs cheatsheet as desktop wallpaper, launch emacs inside a terminal with transparent background. Hmm, seriously, you may be interested by guide-key
    – Nsukami _
    Jan 5 '15 at 13:53

As @Dan asked me to write up my comment to an aswer:

What I've done once to achieve what you want:

Use an already existing Emacs cheatsheet or a customized one, as your desktop wallpaper. And whenever you need to use Emacs, launch it inside a terminal with a transparent background (using Crunchbang, it should be easy).

Also, what about edit the Conky configuration and add the Emacs shortcuts besides the already displayed ones?

Finally, and already stated by the others, you may be interested by guide-key. This package will automatically pops up the keys following your favorite prefixes.

guide-key demo


FWIW, A similar feature to guide-key is that provided by Icicles key completion. You can see all of the keys currently available to you.

After you type a prefix key, you see, for example, only the possible keys that continue from there.

You can use completion against the key names or the associated command names, to finish entering a key and so invoke a command.

By default, key completion is on-demand (via S-TAB), but you could make it always visible if you wanted (e.g., after a short delay, as for guide-key).


Sounds like you're looking for Guide Key.

It is also worth noting that there is also `describe-prefix-bindings' command accessible throughout emacs if you follow the prefix with F1 or C-h.

  • 1
    This post gives essentially the same answer as @Nsukami_'s upvoted comment (re: guide-key) from a while back. The sporting norms are generally to defer to temporal precedence.
    – Dan
    Jan 5 '15 at 20:36

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