Keymap style guide


I’d like to bind a key for “lookup salt docs”, but am not sure what to assign it.

Has anybody made an effort to establish best practices for key-maps? There were some conventions that arose in the TextMate and it made it nice to pick keys that were canonical.

Specifically, when do we use a keyboard sequence? When do we use a key-chord? Do we follow Emacs and adopt a mode-specific key chord prefix convention? (such as C-c)?

I feel this type of document will help us extension devs to minimize learning burden users.


We don’t have a much of a convention for keybindings right now. A summary of what we have now is:

  • keystrokes that use cmd should only be assigned to core Atom functionality
  • keystrokes for developing Atom and Atom packages use cmd-alt-ctrl
  • The key-chord cmd-k is a grab bag of Atom core functionality

When I’m writing a package I try and avoid creating a keybinding and just focus on the commands. If a user wants to use a keybinding instead of using the command palette they can set that up themselves.

But there are some packages that need keybindings. For those picking a common package key-chord prefix or using ctrl-shift is would be my preferred to do things. We just need to settle on a standard chording prefix for packages.