Map Ctrl-S to save current or new files

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created July 30, 2002 · complexity basic · author Thomas R. Kimpton · version 5.7


I wanted to have a single key stroke that would save existing files, or call the file browser.

Here's a key map for Ctrl-S to accomplish that (place in vimrc file):

" If the current buffer has never been saved, it will have no name,
" call the file browser to save it, otherwise just save it.
command -nargs=0 -bar Update if &modified 
                           \|    if empty(bufname('%'))
                           \|        browse confirm write
                           \|    else
                           \|        confirm write
                           \|    endif
                           \|endif
nnoremap <silent> <C-S> :<C-u>Update<CR>

Note that in terminal you must somehow disable interpreting <C-s> by the terminal itself. You may try to use an alias for this:

# zsh
alias vim="stty stop '' -ixoff ; vim"
# `Frozing' tty, so after any command terminal settings will be restored
ttyctl -f

# bash
# No ttyctl, so we need to save and then restore terminal settings
vim()
{
    # osx users, use stty -g
    local STTYOPTS="$(stty --save)"
    stty stop '' -ixoff
    command vim "$@"
    stty "$STTYOPTS"
}
Or you can just always run
stty -ixon
in your .bashrc or terminal to disable flow control for that terminal completely (not just for vim).

[edit] Comments

Recommend an imap for the same functionality so one can hit ctrl-s without having to make sure one isn't in insert mode:

:inoremap <c-s> <Esc>:Update<CR>

If one prefers to return to insert mode after the save, the following mapping may be used instead:

:inoremap <c-s> <c-o>:Update<CR>

Has the nice advantage of allowing one to save in the middle of typing. (I actually have two different keys mapped, one for each of the two above behaviours.)

Also a mapping in visual mode is useful, 'gv' preserves the previous selection (so you can save without losing your selection):

vmap <C-s> <esc>:w<CR>gv

I use:

 :inoremap <c-s> <c-o>:Update<CR><CR>

So that the confirmation doesn't hold you up.


mswin.vim (included with GVim 6.2 for windows) defines:

" Use CTRL-S for saving, also in Insert mode
noremap <C-S> :update<CR>
vnoremap <C-S> <C-C>:update<CR>
inoremap <C-S> <C-O>:update<CR>

To enable mswin.vim in vim 7+, just add the following to your .vimrc:

source $VIMRUNTIME/mswin.vim

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