Emacs: Key Notation <return> vs RET

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

"<return>" vs "RET"

"<return>" is the Return key while emacs runs in a graphical user interface.

"RET" is the Return key while emacs runs in a terminal.

"RET" is also equivalent to "C-m" (Ctrl+m). [see Emacs Key Syntax Explained]

if you define:

(global-set-key (kbd "<return>") 'backward-char)

and run emacs in terminal, your keybinding will have no effect.

you need to use:

(global-set-key (kbd "RET") 'backward-char)

But the problem is, by binding (kbd "RET"), you are also binding (kbd "C-m"), regardless you run emacs in terminal or GUI.

"<tab>" vs "TAB"

Same situation for "<return>" vs "RET".

Also, "ESC" is the same as "C-[".

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