I already tried some different ways of doing this, but never got it quite right, so I put it here.

When working in buffers using some specific modes (lisp-mode, emacs-lisp-mode) I want to make it so a specific key inserts a different character.

In my case,

If Elisp / Lisp mode activated:

  • pressing key ö inserts character (
  • pressing key ä inserts character )

How can I do this?

1 Answer 1


This should work:

  (lambda () (interactive) (insert "(")))
  (lambda () (interactive) (insert ")")))

Most major modes have an associated *-map variable, which holds the keyboard bindings for that mode. You can use define-key to add bindings to those maps.

  • 1
    Lambda expressions are self evaluating: you do not need to quote them.
    – NickD
    Dec 20, 2022 at 12:39
  • TIL. I've updated the answer, thanks!
    – saintamh
    Dec 20, 2022 at 12:43
  • Thank you SO much!
    – Jborg
    Dec 20, 2022 at 14:17

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