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Previous: 31.11 Typing in Uppercase Without CAPS LOCK Chapter 31
Creating Custom Commands in vi
Next: 31.13 Making Cursor Keys Work in vi Text-input Mode

31.12 Text-Input Mode Cursor Motion with No Arrow Keys

Some people don't like to press ESC first to move the cursor while they're using vi. These keymaps change CTRL-h, CTRL-j, CTRL-k, and CTRL-l to do the same things during input mode as the commands h, j, k, and l do in command mode.

NOTE: Is your erase character set to CTRL-h (5.9) outside vi? If it is, mapping CTRL-h (usually labeled BACKSPACE on your keyboard) will change the way CTRL-h works during text-input mode: Instead of erasing the characters you've typed since you entered text-input mode, now CTRL-h will move backwards over what you type without erasing it. One workaround is to change your UNIX erase character to the DELETE or RUBOUT key by typing the command stty erase '?' before you start vi. Then your DELETE key will erase what you type and the BACKSPACE key will jump back over it without deleting.

The lines for your .exrc file (4.9) are below:

map! H [i
map! K [ka
map! L [la
map! V
" Note: the two lines above map J (LINEFEED)

That last map takes two lines; it's tricky and may not work right on all versions of vi. No, it isn't a map for CTRL-v, though that's what it looks like. It maps J, the LINEFEED key. The V comes at the very end of its line. When you're entering that keymap, type CTRL-v and then press LINEFEED or CTRL-j. The cursor will move to the start of the next line; type a SPACE and the rest of the macro. It's a good idea to add the reminder comment (starting with the comment character, a double quote (")), on the line below the map.

NOTE: This map for CTRL-j is pretty obviously something that the people who wrote my version of vi didn't plan for. For example, look at the mess it makes when I ask for a list of my text-input keymaps:

H      H      [i
K      K      [ka
L      L      [la


Before you use this map on important files, you should probably test it carefully.

- JP

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