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Key Bindings

Key bindings map key presses to commands.

File Format

Key bindings are stored in .sublime-keymap files and defined in JSON. Keymap files may be located anywhere in a package.

Naming Keymap Files

Any keymap named Default.sublime-keymap will always be applied in all platforms.

Additionally, each platform can optionally have its own keymap:

  • Default (Windows).sublime-keymap
  • Default (OSX).sublime-keymap
  • Default (Linux).sublime-keymap

Sublime Text will ignore any .sublime-keymap file whose name doesn't follow the patterns just described.

Structure of a Key Binding

Keymaps are arrays of key bindings. These are all valid elements in a key binding:

keys : An array of case-sensitive keys. Modifiers can be specified with the + sign. You can build chords by adding elements to the array (for example, ["ctrl+k","ctrl+j"]). Ambiguous chords are resolved with a timeout.

command : Name of the command to be executed.

args : Dictionary of arguments to be passed to command. Keys must be names of parameters to command.

context : Array of conditions that determine a particular context. All conditions must evaluate to true for the context to be active. See Structure of a Context below for more information.

Here's an example:

{ "keys": ["shift+enter"], "command": "insert_snippet", "args": {"contents": "\n\t$0\n"}, "context":
      { "key": "setting.auto_indent", "operator": "equal", "operand": true },
      { "key": "selection_empty", "operator": "equal", "operand": true, "match_all": true },
      { "key": "preceding_text", "operator": "regex_contains", "operand": "\\{$", "match_all": true },
      { "key": "following_text", "operator": "regex_contains", "operand": "^\\}", "match_all": true }

Structure of a Context

key : Name of the context whose value you want to query.

operator : Type of test to perform against key's value. Defaults to equal.

operand : The result returned by key is tested against this value.

match_all : Requires the test to succeed for all selections. Defaults to false.

Context Keys

Arbitrary keys may be provided by plugins. Thus, this section only features keys provided by Sublime Text itself.

auto_complete_visible : Returns true if the autocomplete list is visible.

has_next_field : Returns true if a next snippet field is available.

has_prev_field : Returns true if a previous snippet field is available.

last_command : Returns the name of the last command run.

num_selections : Returns the number of selections.

overlay_visible : Returns true if any overlay is visible.

panel_visible : Returns true if any panel is visible.

following_text : Test against the selected text and the text following it until the end of the line.

preceding_text : Test against the text on the line up to and including the selection.

selection_empty : Returns true if the selection is an empty region.

setting.x : Returns the value of the x setting. x can be any string.

text : Restricts the test to the selected text.

selector : Returns the name of the current scope.

panel_has_focus : Returns true if a panel has input focus.

panel : Returns true if the panel given as operand is visible.

Context Operators

equal, not_equal : Test for equality.

regex_match, not_regex_match : Match against a regular expression (full match).

regex_contains, not_regex_contains : Match against a regular expression (partial match).

Bindable Keys

Keys in key bindings may be specified literally by symbol or by a name for a special key. Symbols cannot be combined with modifiers. For example, B will catch any key sequence inserting a B glyph, but ctrl+B is invalid and needs to be written as ctrl+shift+b instead.

Here's the list of the names for special keys:



  • shift
  • ctrl or control
  • alt
  • super (Windows: Windows key, MacOS: Command Key)
  • primary (Windows: Control key, MacOS: Command Key)
  • command (MacOS only)
  • option (MacOS only: same as alt)

The Any Character Binding

Adding a binding for <character> (with the angled brackets and no modifiers) causes Sublime Text to bind the given command for all glyphs provided to it. You should thus only use this binding with an accompanying context filter.

The specified command will then receive an additional character argument containing the glyph that was captured.

Warning about Bindable Keys

If you're developing a package, keep this in mind:

  • Ctrl+Alt+<alphanum> should never be used in any Windows key bindings.
  • Option+<alphanum> should never be used in any macOS key bindings.

In both cases, the user's ability to insert non-ASCII characters would be compromised otherwise.

End-users are free to remap any key combination.

Command Mode

Sublime Text provides a command_mode setting to prevent key presses from being sent to the buffer. This is useful, for example, to emulate Vim's modal behavior.

Key bindings not intended for command mode (generally, all of them) should include a context like this:

{"key": "setting.command_mode", "operand": false}

This way, plugins legitimately using command mode will be able to define appropriate key bindings without interference.

Order of Preference for Key Bindings

Key bindings in a keymap file are evaluated from the bottom to the top. The first matching context wins.

Keeping Keymaps Organized

Sublime Text ships with default keymaps under Packages/Default. Other packages may include keymap files of their own.

The recommended storage location for your personal keymap files is Packages/User.

International Keyboards

Due to the way Sublime Text maps key names to physical keys, key names may not correspond to physical keys in keyboard layouts other than US English.


To enable logging related to keymaps, see the documentation for:

  • sublime.log_commands(flag)
  • sublime.log_input(flag)

These may help with debugging keymaps. When a key chord does not trigger an input log, another application or your operating system is likely grabbing the key before it can reach Sublime Text.