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How to map keys in vim

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Say you want to setup vim to have a certain key stroke, preform a desired operation You can use the map command to do this.

The file[s] to add the mappings are ~/.vimrc or /etc/vim/vimrc or you can add a map, temporarily, through vim command-line.

Basic mappingEdit

  • Add to config file
    • map KEY_SEQUENCE OPERATION
    • Example: map <F5> dd
  • Shift, Ctrl, Alt, Meta, Shift: <S-...>
    • Shift: <S-...>
      • Example: Shift s
        <S-s>
    • Ctrl: <C-...>
      • Example: Ctrl s
        <C-s>
    • Alt and Meta are the same: <A-...> <M-...>
      • Example: Alt s
        <A-s> or <M-s>

Special Characters

  • Basic
    • <F1> through <F12>
    • Enter: <CR> or <Enter> or <Return>
    • Space bar: <Space>
    • Esc key: <Esc>

Mapping in different modesEdit

Keys can be mapped in all types of modes, all mapping syntaxes are the same as described above

  • Modes in vim
    • Normal mode: When typing commands.
    • Visual mode: When typing commands while the Visual area is highlighted.
    • Operator-pending mode: When an operator is pending (after "d", "y", "c", etc.). Example: ":omap { w" makes "y{" work like "yw" and "d{" like "dw".
    • Insert mode. These are also used in Replace mode.
    • Command-line mode: When entering a ":" or "/" command.
    • Lang-Arg: searching
  • mapping commands and their respective modes
    • map
      • Normal, Visual, Operator-pending
    • map!
      • Insert, Command-line
    • nmap
      • Normal
    • vmap
      • Visual
    • omap
      • Operator-pending
    • cmap
      • Command-line
    • imap
      • Insert
    • lmap
      • Insert, Command-line, Lang-Arg

Prevent recursive mapping (noremap)Edit

You can prevent one mapping from using other map by using noremap. This is called recursion in programming


Example of a recursive mapping

  • You want the following
    • map <F5> c<Space>
      and
    • map <Space> <PageDown>
  • But you don't want
    • map <F5>, c<Space> to turn into map <F5> c<PageDown>


To prevent this

  • Change
    • map <F5> c<Space>
      to
    • noremap <F5> c<Space>


This works with all mapping types

  • nnoremap
  • inoremap
  • vnoremap
  • etc.

External linksEdit

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