Getting EmacsKeys working with QtCreator 3.1.2

Today, Qt 5.3.1 was released along with Qt Creator 3.1.2. Unfortunately, nsf’s EmacsKeys plugin, merged into the Qt trunk a few months ago, was not a part of this release (it should be included in Qt Creator 3.2).

Because the Emacs keybindings are hardwired into my fingers, and I’m using QtCreator for a project at the moment, I spent some time figuring out how to get the plugin built for Qt Creator 3.1.2. This post explains how you too can build it, but, if you’re on Ubuntu 14.04 with Qt 5.3.1 x64, you can just download my binaries and the keymap file (see under requirements).

I’ve tried to setup most of the common Emacs keybindings documented in nsf’s plugin, plus a few more, and I’ve gotten rid of the conflicts. (Thanks nsf for putting me on the right path with that!)

A subset of the Emacs keybindings in the keymap file.


You need to have Qt 5.3.1 installed. I used the open source x64 .run files made available by the qt-project.

For both of the following approaches, download and unpack the qtcreator-emacskeys archive I’ve prepared especially for you.

The Easy Way: Install Binaries

  • Copy the archive nsf directory to Qt/Tools/QtCreator/lib/qtcreator/plugins.
  • Copy the archive emacskeys.kms to Qt/Tools/QtCreator/share/qtcreator/schemes.
  • Start QtCreator.
  • In Help | About | Plugins activate EmacsKeys under Utilities.
  • Restart QtCreator.
  • Under Tools | Options | Environment | Keyboard click on Import and then select emacskeys.nsf.

You can scroll down to the Emacs Keys section and check that my choices work for you.

The Hard Way: Build ’em Yourself

Get the Qt Creator source code by typing:

git clone --recursive

Copy the src/plugins/emacskeys directory somewhere else, out of the whole qt-creator tree, because you’re going to revert to the 3.1.2 release version:

cd qt-creator
git checkout tags/v3.1.2

Copy the from my archive into the emacskeys directory that you copied out. Edit QTCREATOR_SOURCES to point to te v3.1.2 qt-creator checkout that you prepared above, and IDE_BUILD_TREE to point to your installed QtCreator directory.

In QtCreator, open the .pro file that you’ve just edited, and build the project. If all goes according to plan, this will put the resultant .so file into the correct plugins directory in a subdirectory called nsf.

Now follow the rest of the steps from the easy way above.


I experienced the problem that Alt-W would deselect any existing mark at the press of Alt, so nothing was copied. To get around this, I’ve mapped copy to Esc-W.

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