Insert a single character
From Vim Tips Wiki
created 2002 · complexity basic · author Mikko Pulkkinen · version 6.0
Using insert mode to insert a single character feels clumsy because three key presses are needed to insert one character. Here is a slightly easier way:
:nnoremap <Space> i_<Esc>r
Now, when in normal mode, press Space followed by the character that you want to insert.
Bug: Repeating the insertion with
. does not work.
:nnoremap ,i i_<Esc>r :nnoremap ,a a_<Esc>r
I consider this a better solution:
:nnoremap s :exec "normal i".nr2char(getchar())."\e"<CR> :nnoremap S :exec "normal a".nr2char(getchar())."\e"<CR>
Such inserts can be repeated with '
.' thus making this command worthy (it's not a big problem to make an additional keypress but imagine you need to manually put some spaces or other separators).
's' and 'S' were chosen because:
- They remind of 'single'.
- If they are used occasionally, one can use synonyms 'cl' and 'cc' instead.
- What is the "\e" for?
- It might be meant to represent <Escape> although in Vim 7.2 this method does not need to force an escape from insert mode.
- The built-in
scommand is very useful, but that's a choice for the user. JohnBeckett 22:56, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I quite like the solution you proposed, but it does not allow for repetitions, I found myself wanting to do '
5s '. I couldn't use the repetition inline because it would repeat the call to getchar so I added a simple proxy function, the result is:
function! RepeatChar(char, count) return repeat(a:char, a:count) endfunction nnoremap s :<C-U>exec "normal i".RepeatChar(nr2char(getchar()), v:count1)<CR> nnoremap S :<C-U>exec "normal a".RepeatChar(nr2char(getchar()), v:count1)<CR>
Note that the C-U is necessary to support the ranges and as far as I could tell the '
."\e"' was unnecessary, so I removed it
- Interesting, thanks. Why wouldn't
repeat(getchar(), v:count1)work (why the RepeatChar function)? JohnBeckett 11:20, September 28, 2010 (UTC)
- Because if you use repeat(nr2char(getchar()), v:count1) it executes the "nr2char(getchar())", "v:count1" times, meaning it will try to get "v:count1" keypresses. When you pass it as a parameter to a function it is evaluated only once and the result is repeated. 12:44, September 20, 2010 (UTC)
This is what I am using for a similar purpose. The only difference is, if a character is not provided promptly, it inserts a space:
function! InsertSingle() sleep 120m|let l:a = getchar(0) if l:a != 0 silent! exec "normal a" . nr2char(l:a) else silent! exec "normal a " endif endfunction nnoremap <silent> <Space> :call InsertSingle()<CR>
By exploiting the InsertCharPre and InsertLeave events we could do the trick. Insertion of a specified number of characters or a single character can now be done without manually switching back to Normal mode.
Since I have switched to Neovim in which Meta key bindings works even in the terminal, I used <M-i> and <M-a> as the shortcuts. If you are using original Vim on a terminal, you could use the trick provided by Tim Pope in his rsi.vim plugin to make the meta key work.
let s:insert_char_pre = '' let s:insert_leave = '' autocmd InsertCharPre * execute s:insert_char_pre autocmd InsertLeave * execute s:insert_leave " basic layer function! s:QuickInput (operator, insert_char_pre) let s:insert_char_pre = a:insert_char_pre let s:insert_leave = 'call <SID>RemoveFootprint()' call feedkeys(a:operator, 'n') endfunction function! s:RemoveFootprint() let s:insert_char_pre = '' let s:insert_leave = '' let s:char_count = 0 endfunction " secondary layer function! QuickInput_Count (operator, count) let insert_char_pre = 'call <SID>CountChars('.a:count.')' call <SID>QuickInput(a:operator, insert_char_pre) endfunction let s:char_count = 0 function! s:CountChars (count) let s:char_count += 1 if s:char_count == a:count call feedkeys("\<Esc>") endif endfunction " secondary layer function! QuickInput_Repeat (operator, count) let insert_char_pre = 'let v:char = repeat(v:char, '.a:count.') | call feedkeys("\<Esc>")' call <SID>QuickInput(a:operator, insert_char_pre) endfunction nnoremap i :<C-u>execute 'call ' v:count? 'QuickInput_Count("i", v:count)' : "feedkeys('i', 'n')"<CR> nnoremap a :<C-u>execute 'call ' v:count? 'QuickInput_Count("a", v:count)' : "feedkeys('a', 'n')"<CR> nnoremap <Plug>InsertAChar :<C-u>call QuickInput_Repeat('i', v:count1)<CR> nnoremap <Plug>AppendAChar :<C-u>call QuickInput_Repeat('a', v:count1)<CR> nmap <M-i> <Plug>InsertAChar nmap <M-a> <Plug>AppendAChar