I'm making a program for taking statistics during sports, where I script the games. I'm would like to make a VIM shortcut/remap, so every time I press that it does exactly what the ENTER-key normally does, but that it simply inserts a timestamp as well (and it should only be done in Insert-mode).

My thinking was, that I then could go into my VIMRC-file and activate the shortcut, whenever I was doing statistics.

Here's what I've tried:

 iabbrev <CR> <CR>:put =strftime('%H%M%S')^

The '^' in the end is there in the end, because when you insert the timestamp with :put =strftime('....'), that the cursor then is a the beginning of the newly inserted timestamp. But nothing happens with this in my VIMRC-file.

I've also tried:

iabbrev <ENTER> <ENTER>:put =strftime('%H%M%S')<CR>

And still, nothing happens.

I've even tried this, to try and see, if I could just make VIM insert any character, whenever I hit ENTER, but this doesn't do anything either:

 iabbrev <CR> <CR>1

I apologies, if this is a stupid question.


Let's say that I was typing this on the keyboard:


Then I wanted VIM to have written this:


Thanks for your time and assistance.

1 Answer 1


Try with the following

:inoremap <CR> <Esc>:put =strftime('%H%M%S')<CR>A

This will map your enter key when in insert mode (inoremap) so that

  • It exits to command mode (<Esc>)
  • It runs :put =strftime('%H%M%S'), which inserts a newline and writes your timestamp to the new line (also note the <CR> at the end to execut the comamnd)
  • It puts you back in insert mode at the end of the new line with A
  • It works. When I enable it, then it works all fine and dandy. But when I comment it out in the VIMRC, then it keeps inserting the timestamp (probably because there's no active command that says 'THE ENTER KEY IS THE ENTER KEY'. So when I comment it out in my VIMRC-file, then I just have to add the line>> :inoremap <CR> <CR> Whereafter the ENTER-key functions normally again.
    – Zeth
    Nov 5, 2016 at 12:02

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