Mac OS X and Midnight Commander: The Missing “Insert” Key

I do a lot of work at a Unix command line interface on the MacBook Pro. One of the very handy things I use pretty much all the time is the GNU Midnight Commander (mc) application. This is a text-mode file manager interface that sets up two panels that can show two different directories, and provides most of the file operations one needs to get things done.

One thing that I’ve missed for some time is an “Insert” key, which I have under Windows, FreeBSD, or Linux, but the MacBook keyboard doesn’t have one. In mc, “Insert” tags individual entries for group operations. I had done some Googling before without success, but this morning hit paydirt: <ctrl>-T will tag an individual entry in mc. That made cleaning up after some of the automated processes I’ve been running much more pleasant.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

84 thoughts on “Mac OS X and Midnight Commander: The Missing “Insert” Key

  • 2012/06/14 at 8:04 am

    Thanks dude, very much appreciated, Midnight Commander still is great, dont want to live without it, also moved everything to MAC now .. YEah !!! Take care folks… Cheers

  • 2012/07/26 at 8:01 am

    Thanks! 4 years later, you made my day!

  • 2012/07/31 at 9:31 pm

    For some, who wants to emulate insert key – you can assign “send text” “\e[2~” to any key you want:

    On my USB-keyboard insert key is recognized in Mac as “help” key, so i assigned in iTerm2 a shortcut on insert, and it works.

  • 2012/09/05 at 8:26 pm

    Thank you :)

  • 2012/09/30 at 4:55 am

    Damn! thanks!

  • 2012/10/09 at 10:51 am

    Cool. Thanks a lot.

  • 2012/11/09 at 4:21 am

    Thank you very much… I have been close to cry every time when I need to press the INS button on Mac – until now.
    You are my hero.


  • 2012/12/01 at 7:09 am

    thank you

  • 2012/12/25 at 9:18 am

    Thank you very much!!

  • 2013/01/06 at 4:11 pm


  • 2013/01/08 at 3:05 am

    thank you bro

  • 2013/02/06 at 3:11 am

    Thanks a lot, you made me the day!!

  • 2013/02/16 at 3:46 pm

    Thanks for this, I’ve been trying to set it up with some other key for Insert for ages. Pity this excellent tool seems to have ceased development. The “better finders” out there just don’t work as well as good old MC. Cheers! M

  • 2013/03/04 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for the tip!

    Although Vlad says right click select, that doesn’t work for me, but works ok in iTerm/mc. Even mouse gestures are working, that is pretty cool.

  • 2013/03/18 at 11:56 am

    Végre egy megoldás a terminálos INSERT problémára MAC környezetben :)

    Thank You!!!

  • 2013/03/27 at 5:00 am

    aaaaand thank you. Recently switched to mac os from linux and got sooo lost… you solved one of my issues!

  • 2013/04/03 at 1:36 am

    Thank you for this.

  • 2013/05/15 at 9:36 am

    wow, was looking forever for this… this makes my life a wee bit easier. :) thanks a lot man.

  • 2013/05/22 at 4:39 am

    Thank you!

  • 2013/06/07 at 3:06 am

    God bless you! :)

    been searching for it for almost a year

  • 2013/08/21 at 3:17 am

    Thank you: you are a hero!

  • 2013/08/26 at 6:31 pm

    Thanks gracias desde Argentina!

  • 2013/11/15 at 10:23 am

    Tnx u a lot dude.
    U i cant calculate how much time u save for each who find this article!

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  • 2014/04/16 at 5:04 am

    This is great for JuiceSSH on Android, thanks! 6 years on and still star of the show when googling “midnight commander insert alternative” ;)

  • 2014/07/11 at 4:21 am

    Thanks a lot! :)

  • 2014/07/28 at 3:36 am

    Thx man. I always forget this, because i don’t use mc on a regular base.

  • 2014/08/18 at 5:14 pm

    Very usefull tip! U save me a lot time, Thanks! :)

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