The /etc/inputrc file deals with mapping the keyboard for specific situations. This file is the start-up file used by Readline, the input-related library used by Bash and most other shells.
For more information, see the bash info page, section Readline Init File. The readline info page is also a good source of information.
Global values are set in /etc/inputrc. Personal user values are set in ~/.inputrc. The ~/.inputrc file will override the global settings file. A later page sets up Bash to use /etc/inputrc if there is no .inputrc for a user when /etc/profile is read (usually at login). To make the system use both, or to negate global keyboard handling, it is a good idea to place a default .inputrc into the /etc/skel directory for use with new users.
Below is a base /etc/inputrc, along with comments to explain what the various options do. Note that comments cannot be on the same line as commands.
To create the .inputrc in /etc/skel using the command below, change the command's output to /etc/skel/.inputrc and be sure to check/set permissions afterward. Copy that file to /etc/inputrc and the home directory of any user already existing on the system, including root, that needs a private version of the file. Be certain to use the -p parameter of cp to maintain permissions and be sure to change owner and group appropriately.
cat > /etc/inputrc << "EOF" # Begin /etc/inputrc # Modified by Chris Lynn <firstname.lastname@example.org> # Make sure we don't output everything on the 1 line set horizontal-scroll-mode Off # Enable 8bit input set meta-flag On set input-meta On # Turns off 8th bit stripping set convert-meta Off # Keep the 8th bit for display set output-meta On # none, visible or audible set bell-style none # All of the following map the escape sequence of the # value contained inside the 1st argument to the # readline specific functions "\eOd": backward-word "\eOc": forward-word # for linux console "\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 # for xterm "\eOH": beginning-of-line "\eOF": end-of-line # for Konsole "\e[H": beginning-of-line "\e[F": end-of-line # End /etc/inputrc EOF