Word Movement in OS X Leopard Terminal.app

Word movement in OS X Leopard Terminal.app is a pain! After long time searching, I must keep the solution documented here.

I’ve been searching for a long time, how to fix home/end keys and how to jump words. In every OS X application, cmd + arrows and option + arrows would do the trick, except Terminal.app. I had once fixed it for OS X Tiger, but I couldn’t remember how…

Finally, I’ve found it. Thanks Textmate guys!

My choice is for fn + arrows (home/end) to begin/end of lines and ctrl + arrows to jump words. Fire your Terminal.app, hit cmd + , (yes, period); the alternative is Terminal -> Preferences. Go to Settings area, then Keyboard tab. Edit your combos as below:

Terminal.app keyboard settings

The trick is the code \033b. It is produced through esc (\033) + b and represents “move one word backward”. Forward movement is esc + f, home is ctrl + a (\001) and end is ctrl + e (\005).


8 thoughts on “Word Movement in OS X Leopard Terminal.app

  1. This is a good trick to know.. much appreciated. Another item I am trying to find is how to modify the word boundaries for text selection.. in iTerm, I can specify what characters make up words I want to click on to select. for example, if I have /dev/nst0 and click on that string “/dev/nst0” in Terminal, it only selects “dev” or “nst0”, I need it to select “/dev/nst0” so I can copy/paste. Any ideas on this for macs Terminal.app?

  2. Thanks! But I’m having trouble finding the control cursor right to show up in the list of keys. I only have the control cursor left there, how do I get more keys to show in the list?



    • I know 2 years later, that it may be very too late to answer 🙂

      I had two Control cursor left, although it was in swedish “Kontrol markör vänster”. In order for it to work I had to set the primary language under “Language and text” to English, log out and log in. In english and settings for Terminal.app I could set the Control cursor right.

      It is a bug in OS X, swedish, mayhap in other languages too, you have a nordic name, I just assume I hit the same bug as you.


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