aerc-binds - Man Page

key bindings configuration file format for aerc(1)


The binds.conf file is used for configuring keybindings used in the aerc interactive client. It is expected to be in your XDG config home plus aerc, which defaults to ~/.config/aerc/binds.conf. If the file does not exist, the built-in default will be installed.

This file is written in the ini format with key bindings defined as:

<key sequence> = <command>

Where <key sequence> is the keystrokes pressed (in order) to invoke this keybinding, and <command> specifies keystrokes that aerc will simulate when the keybinding is invoked. Generally this is used to execute commands, for example:

rq = :reply -q<Enter>

Pressing r, then q, will simulate typing in :reply -q<Enter>, and execute :reply -q accordingly. It is also possible to invoke keybindings recursively in a similar fashion.

You may configure different keybindings for different contexts by writing them into different [sections] of the ini file.


The available contexts are:


keybindings for the message list


keybindings for the message viewer


keybindings for the viewer, when in key passthrough mode (toggled with :toggle-key-passthrough)


keybindings for the message composer


keybindings for the composer, when the editor is focused


keybindings for the composer, when reviewing the email before it's sent


keybindings for terminal tabs

You may also configure account specific key bindings for each context:


keybindings for this context and account, where AccountName matches the account name you provided in accounts.conf.

Folder-specific bindings can be configured for message lists:


keybindings under this section will be specific to the folder named FolderName. Keybindings from a folder specifier will take precedence over account specifiers


  c = :cf path:mailbox/** and<space>


<Enter> = :recall<Enter>

You may also configure global keybindings by placing them at the beginning of the file, before specifying any context-specific sections.

Special Options

In addition of user defined key sequences, the following special options are available in each binding context:

$noinherit = true|false

If set to true, global keybindings will not be effective in this context.

Default: false

$ex = <key-stroke>

This can be set to a keystroke which will bring up the command input in this context.

Default: :

Supported Keys

In addition to letters and some characters (e.g. a, RR, gu, ?, !, etc.), special keys may be specified in <angle brackets>. The following special keys are supported:

<space>" "
<up>Up arrow
<down>Down arrow
<right>Right arrow
<left>Left arrow
<pgup>Page Up
<pgdn>Page Down
<print>Print screen

See Also

aerc(1) aerc-config(5)


Originally created by Drew DeVault <> and maintained by Robin Jarry <> who is assisted by other open source contributors. For more information about aerc development, see

Referenced By

aerc(1), aerc-config(5).