As far as I can tell the Meta and Control digit-argument bindings (C-1, C-2, C-3, M-1, M-2, M-3) are duplicates.

There are so few single-modifier, single-key bindings available, it seems like a perfect opportunity for personal bindings.

Is there any special reason one shouldn't use, for example, all the Meta-digit bindings for their own needs?


Yes, they are duplicates. If you want to use one of them for your own purposes, I would recommend to keep the meta ones and rebind the control ones. One reason to keep the meta ones is that if you run Emacs in a terminal, most terminals don't transmit digit differently from plain Ctrl+digit, which makes Ctrl+digit bindings inaccessible. On the other hand text terminals transmit Meta+digit as Esc digit. Another reason to keep the meta bindings is that they are the same bindings that let you type Esc digit…, since the Meta (M-) modifier is equivalent to the Esc (ESC) prefix.

If you really want, you can even rebind both, since the same functionality is also available by typing Ctrl+U and then digits without any modifier. So for example all of the following are equivalent and move the point 12 words to the left:

C-1 C-2 C-left
M-1 M-2 M-b
C-u 1 2 C-left
ESC 1 2 C-left
M-1 C-2 M-b

They are duplicates, indeed. The reason they exist is to make it more ergonomic to type digit arguments regardless if the next command uses Meta or Control. For example, typing C-5 M-f is very convoluted; M-5 M-f is much easier.

You are free to bind them to your own commands if you like.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.