Key Bindings

Key bindings map key presses to commands.

File Format

Key bindings are stored in .sublime-keymap files and defined in JSON. All key map file names need to follow this pattern: Default (<platform>).sublime-keymap. Otherwise, Sublime Text will ignore them.

Platform-Specific Key Maps

Each platform gets its own key map:

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

Separate key maps exist to abide by different vendor-specific HCI guidelines.

Structure of a Key Binding

Key maps are arrays of key bindings. Below you’ll find valid elements in key bindings.

An array of case-sensitive keys to be pressed. Modifiers can be specified with the + sign. Chords are built by adding elements to the array, e. g. ["ctrl+k","ctrl+j"]. Ambiguous chords are resolved with a timeout.
Name of the command to be executed.
Dictionary of arguments to be passed to command. Keys must be the names of parameters to command.
Array of contexts to selectively enable the key binding. All contexts must be true for the key binding to trigger. See Structure of a Context below.

Here’s an example illustrating most of the features outlined above:

{ "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

Name of a context operand to query.
Type of test to perform against key.
Value against which the result of key is tested.
Requires the test to succeed for all selections. Defaults to false.

Context Operands

Returns true if the autocomplete list is visible.
Returns true if there’s a next snippet field available.
Returns true if there’s a previous snippet field available.
Returns the number of selections.
Returns true if any overlay is visible.
Returns true if any panel is visible.
Restricts the test to the text following the caret.
Restricts the test to the text preceding the caret.
Returns true if the selection is an empty region.
Returns the value of the x setting. x can be any string.
Restricts the test to the line the caret is in.
Returns the current scope.

Context Operators

equal, not_equal
Test for equality.
regex_match, not_regex_match
Match against a regular expression.
regex_contains, not_regex_contains
Match against a regular expression (containment).

Command Mode

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

Bindable Keys

Keys may be specified literally or by name. Below you’ll find the list of valid names:

  • up
  • down
  • right
  • left
  • insert
  • home
  • end
  • pageup
  • pagedown
  • backspace
  • delete
  • tab
  • enter
  • pause
  • escape
  • space
  • keypad0
  • keypad1
  • keypad2
  • keypad3
  • keypad4
  • keypad5
  • keypad6
  • keypad7
  • keypad8
  • keypad9
  • keypad_period
  • keypad_divide
  • keypad_multiply
  • keypad_minus
  • keypad_plus
  • keypad_enter
  • clear
  • f1
  • f2
  • f3
  • f4
  • f5
  • f6
  • f7
  • f8
  • f9
  • f10
  • f11
  • f12
  • f13
  • f14
  • f15
  • f16
  • f17
  • f18
  • f19
  • f20
  • sysreq
  • break
  • context_menu
  • browser_back
  • browser_forward
  • browser_refresh
  • browser_stop
  • browser_search
  • browser_favorites
  • browser_home


  • shift
  • ctrl
  • alt
  • super (Windows key, Command key…)

Warning about Bindable Keys

  • Ctrl+Alt+<alphanum> should not be used on any Windows key bindings.
  • Option+<alphanum> should not be used on any OS X key bindings.

In both cases, the users ability to insert non-ascii characters would be compromised.

Keeping Key Maps Organized

Sublime Text ships with default key maps under Packages/Default. Other packages may include their own key map files. The recommended storage location for your personal key map is Packages/User.

See Merging and Order of Precedence for information about how Sublime Text sorts files for merging.

International Keyboards

Due to the way Sublime Text maps key names to physical keys, there might be a mismatch between the two.


See sublime.log_commands(flag) to enable command logging. It may help when debugging key maps.