I can split my screen window horizontally by typing Ctrl-A S (or vertically with Ctrl+A |), and then I can switch between windows with Ctrl-A Tab. I'd like to also be able to switch windows with Ctrl-A o (to parallel how you can switch windows in emacs with Ctrl-x o). I've tried reading the docs on screen's bindkey command, but I find them completely inscrutable. Can anyone help me make this change? Thank you!

Note: I'm not actually using Ctrl-A as my escape key, I've actually set my escape key to backtick, but backticks wreak havok on the formatting on stackchange, so I left the examples using the default Ctrl-A escape sequence to make this question easier to type out. I'm assuming the solution shouldn't care about what the escape sequence actually is, so long as I can set the key sequence to change windows to be <escape sequence> o

2 Answers 2


See the docs.

Add this to your .screenrc file:

bind o focus next
  • Interesting, I had been looking at the docs for 'bindkey' not for 'bind', which now raises the question on what the difference is... Anyway this suggestion doesn't do exactly what I want. This gives Ctrl-A o the same behavior as Ctrl-A n, but I want it to have the same behavior as Ctrl-A Tab. I'm not sure exactly what actual correct terminology for screen is, but this is cycling through what I think of in my head as the 'tabs', but not the 'windows'.
    – stbrody
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 14:57
  • Looks like maybe the proper terminology is that the 'next' command goes to the next "window" but what I want is the next "region"
    – stbrody
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 15:00
  • Okay, figured it out, the command I'm looking for is 'focus'. Anyway, thanks @Timothy Brackett, this comment gave me the clue I needed (use 'bind' not 'bindkey') to be able to figure the rest out from the docs. Thanks!
    – stbrody
    Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 15:02
  • No problem. I switched to tmux years ago, and no longer have screen installed on any of my systems. Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 15:10
  • Edited answer to show the behavior that you want. Commented Oct 31, 2020 at 15:11

Okay figured it out, the proper invocation is bind o focus next

  • so, please delete your this answer and mark @TimothyBrackett's answer as accepted Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 19:48
  • He changed his answer to be correct after I posted this. Now that it's been updated I can take his if that's better. Although now our discussion in the comments on his answer makes less sense now that the text has been changed...
    – stbrody
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 20:04

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