Alt-key in OSX-Terminal

30 January 2012 — 18 Comments

By default, the Alt-key doesn’t work in Mac OSX-Terminal. Today I found a simple solution for this problem:

Terminal > Preferences > Settings > Keyboard
Just check ‘Use option as meta key’ at the bottom and you’re good to go 🙂

18 responses to Alt-key in OSX-Terminal


    Was using Midnight Commander and this thing was driving me mad. Nice one!!
    Thank you!!!


    I can’t be grateful enough, you fucking solved my issue I had for a year or so 😀 thanks!


    Hi Remi,
    Please explain where the change can be made. I have a Mac with Linux OS, and there is no mention of “meta key” in Settings/keyboard, or by searching the computer. Does one change this in terminal? I tried this too but don’t know exactly how to enter the text there to make this change.
    I’m using Inkscape, wanting to alter the order of objects in sub-layers, which requires use of “alt.” I’ve disabled alt in other commands, so I think you’re on to the solution. Please do send the specific steps to do what you suggest.
    Thank you kindly for your time to respond to me.


    Just what I was looking for – thank you!


    Thank You!


    Thank You!


    yeeeeeeeeeeeah this post still helps people, how amazing is that !

    blisterpeanuts 29 January 2019 at 14:54

    You helped me in 2019! After five years of NOT being able to use standard terminal commands like ALT-right, ALT-left, ALT-delete, etc.!!!! Thanks for posting this.

    Carol Neagle 7 May 2019 at 22:44

    I’m also using a Mac with a touch screen and can’t get the alt key to raise the bottom object to the top like it is supposed too.

    Sayling Low 13 May 2020 at 11:30

    I’m stymied here because I’m using a UK layout keyboard on my MacBook Pro. I normally access the hash # key using Option-3 because Shift-3 is the Pound currency sign £. So setting the ‘Use Option as Meta key’ checkbox allows me to access M-6 Copy Text in the Nano editor but I can’t type any ####s (confusingly in the Nano editor M-3 now Option-3 = Comment/uncomment line), except by highlighting an existing # character can copying and pasting it.

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