I work regularly on both Linux and Mac. When I work in terminal on Linux, I use the
Alt key very often.
Alt is the prefix of many terminal shortcuts and I also use the
Alt key in
tmux to switch between panes within a window. This key, however, behaves differently on Mac. In this post, I will describe how to have Linux-like key binding in iTerm 2 for the
iTerm 2 settings
You need to change the following settings in iTerm 2.
- Preferences -> Profiles -> Keys -> Left option key as
- Preferences -> Keys -> Remap modifier key -> Swap left option and left command
- Preferences -> Keys -> Navigation shortcut -> Option for switching tabs
The first change makes your left
option key behave like the
meta key instead of a special key in macOS that outputs special characters when followed by letters. The second change swaps left
option and left
command, this is not a must but it aligns the position of
Alt with normal Windows/Linux keyboards. The last change is to use
option for switching tabs so that you could still use the actual
command key for switching tabs, which I’m so used to personally.
Overall, these changes has the following effects
commandkey works like
Altkey in Linux
optionkey works as
This is not really perfect, as now you have to use
option as the
command key. This mean you need to use
v for paste instead of
v. However, being able to use
Alt is more important to me so personally I’m OK with the changes I made.