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Start in insert mode without losing your escape key

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created August 3, 2002 · complexity basic · author atkinss · version 5.7

There are two parts to this, each is fairly simple.

First, I want to start in insert mode. Well "set im!" in my vimrc did the job, but I lost the escape key.

Second, I have found that often times, when I'm in command mode, I hit escape trying to get back into insert mode. I am always rewarded with a beep, telling me once again I made that mistake.

So I mapped esc in command mode to set insert mode (":set im") and I mapped esc in insert mode to unset insert mode (<c-o>:set im) Well then I realized if you hit "i" in command mode, escape woulding work the first time. So here's the code to add to your vimrc:

" Start in insert mode and
" set escape to switch to
" command mode or back to
" insert.
set im!
map <Esc> :set im!<CR><c-o>:echo <CR>
map i :set im!<CR><c-o>:echo <CR>
map! <Esc> <c-o>:set im!<CR>:echo <CR>
map a :set im<CR><c-o>l<c-o>:echo <CR>
map A :set im<CR><c-o>$<c-o>:echo <CR>
map o :set im<CR><c-o>$<c-o>:echo <CR><CR>
map O :set im<CR><c-o>^<c-o>:echo <CR><CR><c-o>k

I found that I needed all of these so that scripts would work correctly and such.

Don't forget to change your other scripts to use <c-l> rather than <Esc>.



I think a better approach would be to use <C-L> to come to Command Mode from Insert Mode. The script would then be as simple as:

se im
imap <Esc> <C-L>

vim -c 'startinsert'

This works for perfectly me (thank you). By far, the simplest and easiest method - with no configuration changes.

  * for insert mode:  vim -c start
  * for append mode:  vim -c start\!

Using version 7.0.66 of vim

Just using

vim -c start

on the command line works perfectly well; no configuration changes are necessary. If you want it to do this all the time, you can add

alias vim='vim -c start'

to your .bashrc.

To prevent conficts with insert mode and explorer, help, quickfix, etc type of buffers... I've looking for this behaviour in insert mode a long, long time:

au BufWinEnter * set noinsertmode
au BufWinEnter *.php,*.js,*.inc,*.css,*.html,*.htm set insertmode | imap <buffer> <Esc> <C-l>

This only uses insert mode in my coding-type files, etc. Also uses specifically for this buffers the <Esc> map to <C-l> Also find thins maps usefull with set insertmode:

imap <M-up> <C-o><MouseDown>
imap <M-down> <C-o><MouseUp>
imap <C-up> <C-o>{
imap <C-down> <C-o>}

Hope is useful for anybody missing it like me. (I'm deleting my last comment for this info)

--Rkg 13:09, April 21, 2010 (UTC)

An alternative to all the above:

edit your .vimrc file to include ":start" at the beginning. Good luck everyone!


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