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

Posted on in Categories FreeBSD, Howto, Sys admin, Tips, Troubleshooting last updated February 8, 2008

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.

14 comment

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. Hey there,

    This post is kindof old but still relevant.

    In freebsd 9.x I’ve had to add the following to the inputrc file to really make ctrl-arrow work:

    "\e[1;5C": forward-word
    "\e[1;5D": backward-word
    "\e\e[C": forward-word
    "\e\e[D": backward-word

    hope that can be useful for ppl stumbling here.

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