I was asking a similar question about the main concept behind default emacs key bindings. But this one is more specific to C-c and C-x.

I know and use some commands/functions/features bind to C-c or C-x by default. I also have my own cheat sheet for that.

The problem ist that I often got the two mixed up. It would help my brain to understand the concept (if there is one) behind that two major keys. Most of time I remember the key-binding for a special command but did not remember if I need to start it with C-c or C-x.

Are there a special type of function always going to C-c and another type that always (or most) goes to C-x.

1 Answer 1


The normal C-x keymap is for global bindings which are expected to do something regardless of the active modes. Conversely:

Sequences consisting of ‘C-c’ followed by a control character or a digit are reserved for major modes.

Sequences consisting of ‘C-c’ followed by ‘{’, ‘}’, ‘<’, ‘>’, ‘:’ or ‘;’ are also reserved for major modes.

Sequences consisting of ‘C-c’ followed by any other ASCII punctuation or symbol character are allocated for minor modes.

-- C-hig (elisp)Key Binding Conventions


Sequences consisting of ‘C-c’ and a letter (either upper or lower case) are reserved for users.

Although those would commonly be global bindings.

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