I have a couple of questions regarding the emacs-like keyboard bindings in Zsh. As background to all the questions: I have Emacs-like keybinding activated with bindkey -e (activated by default)

Copying and region highlighting:

In Emacs, if you run C-space (set-mark), select a region and then copy it using M-w, Emacs puts the region in the kill ring and stops selecting text (i.e. if I move the point, no more text is selected).

However, I can't get the same behavior in ZLE. Once I copy a region with M-W, the selection mode is still on, and if I move my cursor, the selection keeps changing.

Stop selection:

In Emacs, if I am selecting a region, and press C-g, the selection stops (the current mark is killed). In Zsh, by default, C-g starts a new line in the shell. So is there a ZLE command that I can bind to (maybe using something different from C-g) to stop an ongoing selection?

1 Answer 1


To deactivate the selection, run set-mark-command with a negative argument: ESC - Ctrl+Space.

To copy the region and deactivate the selection, write a function that performs the two actions, then declare it as a widget with zle -N and bind that widget to a key.

copy-region-as-kill-deactivate-mark () {
  zle copy-region-as-kill
  zle set-mark-command -n -1
zle -N copy-region-as-kill-deactivate-mark
bindkey '\ew' copy-region-as-kill-deactivate-mark
  • hi Gilles, when i run set-mark-command in zsh and move the cursor left/right, will it markup the selected text in black bgcolor... i am not seeing such highlighting in my zsh/gnome terminal... In bash as well, @unix.stackexchange.com/questions/11933/… Mikel has said, bash doesn't do highlighting....
    – user93868
    Aug 6, 2015 at 16:51

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