FreeBSD: Customize Home, Del, Insert keys for BASH shell

by on December 1, 2004 · 13 comments· LAST UPDATED February 8, 2008

in , ,

By default when you use FreeBSD's BASH shell and if you hit Home, Del, Insert keys all of them just prints ~ (some garbage is printed ). To get rid of this problem, edit /etc/profile file and define key binding.

1) Open your bash global profile file:
# vi /etc/profile

2) Add following line to it:
export INPUTRC=/usr/local/etc/inputrc

3) Close and save the file

4) Open the file /usr/local/etc/inputrc and define / modify key binding:
# vi /usr/local/etc/inputrc

5) Append following config data:

set meta-flag on
set input-meta on
set convert-meta off
set output-meta on
"\e[1~": beginning-of-line
"\e[4~": end-of-line
"\e[5~": beginning-of-history
"\e[6~": end-of-history
"\e[3~": delete-char
"\e[2~": quoted-insert
"\e[5C": forward-word
"\e[5D": backward-word

6) Close and save the file

7) Now logout and login back again to test your new key settings.

TwitterFacebookGoogle+PDF versionFound an error/typo on this page? Help us!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BOK July 20, 2005 at 5:15 pm

And another one:
“x7F”: backward-delete-char

PS Nice hints ‘n tips on your site!


2 PotatoSalad July 17, 2006 at 7:42 pm

You can just copy /usr/compat/linux/etc/inputrc to /etc/inputrc and add “export INPUTRC=/etc/inputrc” to /etc/profile. Not sure if everyone has the /usr/compat/linux/etc/inputrc file, though. I’m on FreeBSD 6.1


3 nixcraft July 18, 2006 at 7:05 pm


I am also not sure about freebsd 4.x. If you have the file just copy and use it :)


4 Dan Dascalescu November 29, 2006 at 1:24 am

BTW, it’s
“\x7F”: backward-delete-char

Forget the backslash like BOK and your keyboard will be crippled off the ‘x’ key


5 kace September 20, 2007 at 8:31 pm

Don’t forget the ‘ctl-v’ trick though. (I mentioned it here.) I’ve found some of those codes are different on different keyboards/machines!


6 Steve Kamerman September 26, 2007 at 5:38 pm

WOW! Thanks – I just switched two dedicated servers from Fedora Core 4 to FreeBSD 6.1 and this was driving me crazy!!!

Here’s some more handy things to put in your /etc/profile

alias pico="nano -w"
alias slocate="locate"
alias cd..="cd .."
export EDITOR=/usr/local/bin/nano
export INPUTRC=/etc/inputrc


7 Dagur March 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm

It’s also worth noting that if you don’t have permission to edit /etc/inputrc you can at least create a .inputrc file in your home directory


8 BK May 4, 2008 at 10:18 am



9 Robvdl May 25, 2008 at 2:25 am

Thanks a lot, that fixed the keys in bash, but there’s one more: the END key in the nano editor doesn’t work.

How would I get that going?


10 uhoo November 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Thanks, but…
How to do this in (T)cshell ? I’ve no the program ‘export’.
I’m freebsd 7.1.


11 Lucas Saliés Brum November 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm



12 Giofe December 21, 2010 at 1:47 am

it works very well on bash – Solaris 10.


13 diegomichel January 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

Thanks alot, i got a vps with freebsd and have been hard just because this issue, now even the paste and copy from mouse works perfectly.


Leave a Comment

Tagged as: , , , ,

Previous post:

Next post: