Sometimes I need to press TAB, but instead of getting actual the tab key, a suggestion pops up and TAB cycles through the suggestions.

How can I insert TAB without invoking the auto-completion ?

The problem occurrs both in YouCompleteMe and SuperTab plugins.

2 Answers 2


I would just use a different key mapping for completion instead of hijacking the Tab key. Having one key to preform two actions and "guess" which one it should do is just a misguided approach IMHO.

For SuperTab see :help supertab-forwardbackward:

g:SuperTabMappingForward  (default value: '<tab>')
g:SuperTabMappingBackward (default value: '<s-tab>')

These two variables allow you to set the keys used to kick off the current
completion. By default this is <tab> and <s-tab>. To change to something
like <c-space> and <s-c-space>, you can add the following to your |vimrc|.

    let g:SuperTabMappingForward = '<c-space>'
    let g:SuperTabMappingBackward = '<s-c-space>'

And for YouCompleteMe see :help g:ycm_key_list_select_completion:

The *g:ycm_key_list_select_completion* option

This option controls the key mappings used to select the first completion
string. Invoking any of them repeatedly cycles forward through the completion

Some users like adding '<Enter>' to this list.

Default: "['<TAB>', '<Down>']"

    let g:ycm_key_list_select_completion = ['<TAB>', '<Down>']

Another alternative is mapping another key combination to <Tab>; e.g.:

inorenap <Leader><Tab> <Tab>

And then use \<Tab> to get the default tab behaviour.


You can always bypass the effects of a keypress by preceding it with a ctrl-v. For example, if you'd like to insert a literal escape character without returning to normal mode, you can do from insert mode:


This also works on the command line. I don't have YouCompleteMe, or SuperTab installed so I haven't tested this solution, but it should work fine to do


Let me know if this works for you!

  • I have SuperTab installed, and <c-v><tab> works.
    – muru
    Dec 5, 2016 at 4:29

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