Help My Meta Key Doesn't Work on Mac

So you're using a Mac and you're in the Terminal. You want to use the meta key as part of your navigation. For example:

  • M-f to move forward a word
  • M-b to move backward a word
  • M-d to delete the following word

(Meta is the Option key, by the way)

However, when you type any of those, you see weird Unicode characters like ƒ, , or . This is especially painful if you're trying to use Emacs. The fix is to:

  • Open up Terminal
  • Go to the Terminal menu and select Preferences
  • Under Settings
  • Select the Keyboard tab
  • At the bottom, check the box next to "Use option as meta key"
  • Kick back and relax