I'm trying to add a keybinding to prog-mode-map, which is supposed to be valid in all programming maps, but I can't be doing it right, cause I have to add lines, like the second one, to have it working in each map

(define-key prog-mode-map (kbd "C-M-w r") 'eglot-rename)

(define-key c++-mode-map (kbd "C-M-w r") 'eglot-rename)

Any pointers as to what I'm doing wrong?;)

1 Answer 1


You have to make C-M-w a prefix key first (by default it it bound to append-next-kill):

(setq c-m-w-keymap (make-sparse-keymap))
(define-key prog-mode-map (kbd "C-M-w") c-m-w-keymap)

Then you can add keybindings to it:

(define-key c-m-w-keymap (kbd "r") #'eglot-rename)

Then both prog-mode and its children (e.g. c++-mode) will know about it.

EDIT: ... and since the above hijacks an existing keybinding in order to allow the key to become a prefix key, you might want to add a binding in the new keymap to replace the old binding, e.g.:

(define-key c-m-w-keymap (kbd "a") #'append-next-kill)

Alternatively, as @phils suggests in a comment, you might choose an unused key, e.g. C-M-z is not used in prog-mode-keymap.

I tend to avoid such ad-hoc bindings, primarily because if I don't use them often enough I forget about their existence; instead I tend to define function keys[1] as prefix keys for clusters of related commands. I can remember only a few of those too, but I can add stickers on the rest to remind me for which cluster a particular function key is a prefix, and I can use something like <f5> C-h to find what's hidden behind the <f5> prefix key.

[1] You might want to only use <f5>-<f12> - Emacs defines the first four by default.

  • 1
    For the same reason, consider using some other prefix which doesn't conflict.
    – phils
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 2:25
  • actually, it worked if I inserted ampersand, cause I already have defined it as a prefix-key, (define-key prog-mode-map (kbd "C-M-w r") #'eglot-rename) Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 10:07
  • I don't understand what you mean: where did you insert ampersand?
    – NickD
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 12:36
  • Sorry, I mean to say hash sign. Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 22:37
  • You mean #'eglot-rename instead of 'eglot-rename? If so, that only tells the compiler that it is dealing with a function, so that it can warn you if the function is not defined. See the function special form (for which #' is a shorthand, similar to using ' for the quote special from) in Anonymous Functions. When applied to a symbol, #' does nothing more than what is described above: in particular, it is functionally equivalent to a plain ' in that case.
    – NickD
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 23:23

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