Option-arrow navigation in iTerm2

Update: See the comments for more (and possibly better) solutions from readers!

I’ve been trying to get Option-arrow keys to move by word in iTerm2. I figured out a solution, but it’s weird. If anyone has an explanation or a better way to do this, let me know.

First, I had to edit my ~/.inputrc file and add these lines:

"\e[1;5C": forward-word
"\e[1;5D": backward-word

iTerm2 Preference Panel screenshotThen I had to set up in iTerm2 preferences–under Profiles->Keys–the options for both key combinations:

  • Add a hotkey with the plus symbol at the bottom of the hotkey list
  • Set the keyboard shortcut by pressing Option-left or Option-right
  • Set the action to “Send Escape Sequence”
  • Set the Esc+ field to:
    • [1;5C (Option-Right)
    • [1;5D (Option-Left)

With these in place both work swimmingly. I don’t know why I had to do both parts, though…

Brett Terpstra

Brett is a writer and developer living in Minnesota, USA. You can follow him as ttscoff on Twitter, GitHub, and Mastodon. Keep up with this blog by subscribing in your favorite news reader.

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