I use GNU Screen on occasion, and my Emacs keybinding muscle memory is hard to overcome. I know that I can send a control-a (i.e. "go to beginning of line") by hitting "c-a a", but I'm wondering if it's possible to remap the keybindings so that c-a c-a so that sends the c-a.

I've tried a simple "bind ^a ^a" in the .screenrc, but that doesn't seem to do the trick.

I suspect there's some way to do it with the combination of bind and bindkey, but the answer isn't obvious to me.

1 Answer 1


You want:

escape ^a^a


bind ^a meta

(since meta sends the command character, i.e. here ^a).

But since ^a is typically more useful than ^z in GNU Screen, you could use ^z as the command character. This is what I do:

escape ^z^z
  • Both of these seem to work for me. I hadn't ever seen used multiple windows within a single screen instance, and instead had been using multiple screen sessions with different screen -S FOO and screen -S BAR and various screen -r <name> commands to reconnect. I can see the utility in the multiple window scheme.
    – Aphoid
    Oct 3, 2014 at 15:36

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