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When it comes to swap words, emacs has the command “transpose-words“. Pressing the key binding M-t the word will shift forward, many times if you keep pressing those keys. Now, in order to do it backwards, if we want it shifted several times -as if it were “bubbling” back across the paragraph-, a negative argument is not practical to type every time. Hence, here’s my handy binding for a macro that adds the argument “-1” to transpose-word to do just that when pressing M-C-t.

;; to transpose words backwards without having to type the negative argument
(global-set-key (kbd "C-M-t") "\C-u\ -1\ \M-t")

;;reset the original key binding (transpose-sexps) for when in emacs-lisp and lisp-mode
(add-hook 'lisp-mode-hook
(local-set-key (kbd "C-M-t") 'transpose-sexps)

(add-hook 'emacs-lisp--mode-hook
(local-set-key (kbd "C-M-t") 'transpose-sexps)


  1. Nice. Following your lead I’ve done similar, but I’ve set it to Meta-Shift-T.

    (global-set-key (kbd “M-T”) (lambda () (interactive) (transpose-words -1)))

    I particularly like transpose-words because it works perfectly for shifting items in comma-separated lists.

    • Glad you liked it Ed! ,and thanks for sharing your variation.

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