I have this function:

(defun my-replacements ()
  (query-replace "foo" "bar" nil (point-min) (point-max))
  (query-replace "baz" "quz" nil (point-min) (point-max))
  (query-replace "fred" "thud" nil (point-min) (point-max)))

If I run it and accidentally type, for example, 'k' during one of the replacements, the function is interrupted, skipping all the remaining replacements.

I know that query-replace accepts only events binded in the query-replace-map and from the manual I know that:

Aside from this, any other character exits the query-replace, and is then reread as part of a key sequence. Thus, if you type C-k, it exits the query-replace and then kills to end of line. In particular, C-g simply exits the query-replace.

I would like to circumvent this behavior by ensuring that events not defined in the query-replace-map are simply ignored. Is there a way to achieve this?

I thought it could be done with a macro, e.g.:


but I have no idea how to do it.

As a feature request, I would like to add an optional argument to the function so that I can have control over this behavior. Does it make sense to you?

Edit. I just realized that a better idea would be using a variable to control this feature I request.

1 Answer 1


Try this ...

(defvar my-do-nothing-map
  (let ((map (make-keymap)))
    (set-char-table-range (nth 1 map) t 'ignore)

(set-keymap-parent query-replace-map my-do-nothing-map)

The proposed solution involves creating a custom keymap called my-do-nothing-map. This keymap is configured so that all keyboard events have no associated action, meaning they are ignored.

  1. Creation of my-do-nothing-map: A custom keymap named my-do-nothing-map is created using the function make-keymap. This keymap serves as a container for key bindings.

  2. Setting Up the Keymap: Within this custom keymap, the function set-char-table-range is used to set a default action for all keyboard events. The 'ignore value is assigned to every key, indicating that no action should be taken when any key is pressed.

  3. Inheritance from query-replace-map: The keymap my-do-nothing-map is set as the parent of query-replace-map using the function set-keymap-parent. This means that when Emacs looks for a key binding in query-replace-map and does not find one, it will then check my-do-nothing-map for a binding. Since all keys in my-do-nothing-map are configured to be ignored, Emacs effectively skips handling any unbound keys during the execution of query-replace.

In summary, this solution ensures that during the execution of query-replace, any unintended key presses that are not explicitly bound in query-replace-map are ignored, preventing premature interruption of the function due to accidental keystrokes.

C-g still works!

  • Beautiful! Could you please add a short (or long...) explanation of your code, please?
    – Gabriele
    Commented Feb 24 at 7:48
  • I added an explanation of what your code does.
    – Gabriele
    Commented Feb 28 at 12:41
  • I approved your edits. Thanks.
    – mxnt
    Commented Feb 29 at 14:22

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