In zsh by default, CTRL+w and ALT+Backspace seem to have exactly same effect.

How can I keep CTRL+w as it is, and change ALT+Backspace so that it stops at non-alphanumeric characters.

ie, when the cursor is at the end of following command: echo /aaa/bbb/ccc, pressing CTRL+w should leave echo, while pressing ALT+Backspace should leave echo /aaa/bbb/.


Actually I don't see this listed in zsh bindings, but if bindkey shows it for you, then it's configurable by binding to a function that you define.

Working from my answer in

    i use this bit contributed by someone on the list (Oliver Kiddle); check
    the archives from Mon, Oct. 8 for more info on this:

    tcsh-backward-delete-word () {
      local WORDCHARS="${WORDCHARS:s#/#}"
      zle backward-delete-word

    i have it bound to control-W with:
    bindkey '^W' tcsh-backward-delete-word

    but you can change that obviously.

    i think that's what you're looking for, no?

    the '$WORDCHARS' variable is how zsh determines word boundaries so you
    could add '/' to that globally, however this might affect other things
    you want to leave it for, so i prefer this function.

So: you can use $WORDCHARS as a local variable in your own function, defining words as you want, and binding it to an arbitrary key.

When you define your function, don't forget to add it as a keymap:

zle -N tcsh-backward-delete-word
  • would you mind adding a working example for alt+backspace? When I tried your example, I get: No such widget tcsh-backward-delete-word. – 400 the Cat Oct 5 '16 at 6:06
  • The example assumes you have defined a function tcsh-backward-delete-word (with $WORDCHARS set to the characters you want for "works"). – Thomas Dickey Oct 5 '16 at 7:50
  • - that's what I did. And I get the above mentioned error: no such widget .... – 400 the Cat Oct 5 '16 at 10:37

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