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By default, when entering information at the command prompt in mutt, you can clear the prompt with Ctrlg, as described in the manual:

^G              n/a             abort

I have been trying to bind this function to Escape. Unfortunately, abort is not listed in the available functions, either in the manual, or in the source.

I have tried using this in my .muttrc:

bind editor <esc>       abort

but it throws an error:

Error in /home/jason/.mutt/muttrc, line 143: abort: no such function in map

I have tried using a different map, like (generic) and experimented with other fictitious functions, like clear, to no avail.

How would I bind Escape to clear the prompt line?

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Binding escape is not a good idea as the escape character (sent upon pressing escape) is also the prefix for escape sequences sent by all function keys like arrows, del, F1... –  Stephane Chazelas Sep 11 '12 at 6:20
That's a good point that I had not considered. Testing it, Escape needs to be sent twice to send a literal ^[ so it may not be a showstopper (I don't use any binds that rely on it anyway). –  jasonwryan Sep 11 '12 at 6:58
Esc, Esc would send two ESC characters. You can also press Esc once and wait about one second (the default timeout waiting for the rest of an escape sequence). –  Stephane Chazelas Sep 11 '12 at 9:19
Yes. First I have to work out how to bind it :) –  jasonwryan Sep 11 '12 at 9:20
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's not possible with key bindings. Ctrl-G is hardcoded in mutt at a lower level than the macro or keybinding processing (see mutt_getch() in mutt's source code, at the core of all user input in mutt that returns an error upon ^G).

macro editor \e '^G'

wouldn't work either.

What you can do is configure your terminal to send ^G upon pressing Escape

With xterm:

xterm -xrm 'XTerm.VT100.translations: #override <KeyPress> Escape: string(0x7)'

If you're using screen, you can also do

screen -X bindkey $'\e' stuff $'\a'

before calling mutt and restore it afterwards (unfortunately, it doesn't seem you can have per screen window key bindings in screen). Also, it's going to be a problem if your editor for email messages is vi.

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Upvoted: because it answers the question (ie., it's not possible). Could you please elaborate on the "hardcoded... at a lower level". And while the workaround is ingenious, it is not really practicable as I use Escape in a lot of other terminal programs--hence the desire to bind it here. –  jasonwryan Sep 11 '12 at 9:41
I've edited my answer with more details. I'm surprised you have Esc bound in other programs as it usually isn't in applications I know for the reason mentioned in comments above. –  Stephane Chazelas Sep 11 '12 at 11:22
Thank you: that is helpful. –  jasonwryan Sep 11 '12 at 17:47
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