I have swapped my number keys with their symbols, because the symbols occur much more frequently than numbers in many programming languages, like C or Haskell. You can see my key-swap function in my .vimrc file.

For the sake of examples, say 9 and ( are swapped.

There is one part I'm stumped in though. I currently use map, imap and cmap to cover most cases. However, some commands, like f aren't covered. For example, f followed by 9 doesn't do f(.

I know that lmap takes care of this, and that's true. However, using lmap (in conjunction with iminsert=1) creates another problem: macros stop working.

For example, take the following line:

Stuff 9 other ( things

And the following key strokes: q q f 9 x q

While recording this macro, effectively f(x is executed, which is the intended behavior. However, if I run this macro again (for example undo and rerun on same line, or just on another similar line), then what actually gets executed is f9x. Using "qp I can see that the macro has recorded f9x, which is fine, but it means that when playing the macro, the mapping is not taking into effect.

Note that I don't have this problem with / for example. As in, I can do (in a macro) / 9 to get /( with the macro recording /9 and when I replay the macro I correctly see /( being executed.

So, what's wrong here? Why do macros respect the mapping with / but not with f, and how can I get them to work correctly?

P.S. Possibly relevant information: I use *noremap not *map themselves.

  • 1
    You need omap to change operator pending mode.
    – Tumbler41
    Jan 4, 2017 at 15:51
  • @Tumbler41 According to :h map-modes, :map is supposed to cover :omap.
    – Shahbaz
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:20
  • In :h f it states that it should use :lmap mappings, which would make sense why yours isn't working. However, I tried to use :lmap and it wasn't working for me.
    – Tumbler41
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:32
  • @Tumbler41, did you try :set iminsert=1? I learned that from here
    – Shahbaz
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:34
  • Ah! Good catch. Seems like you need to use both :lmap and iminsert=1.
    – Tumbler41
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


Though it's not elegant, you could define mappings for combinations of the f family and numbers/symbols. For example,

nnoremap f1 f!
nnoremap f! f1

To extend the function you used in your .vimrc, you could do something like this:

function Swap_keys(a, b, do)
  if a:do
    for prefix in ['', 'f', 't', 'F', 'T']
      exe 'noremap' prefix.a:a prefix.a:b
      exe 'noremap' prefix.a:b prefix.a:a
    exe 'inoremap' a:a a:b
    exe 'inoremap' a:b a:a
    exe 'cnoremap' a:a a:b
    exe 'cnoremap' a:b a:a
    for prefix in ['', 'f', 't', 'F', 'T']
      exe 'noremap' prefix.a:a prefix.a:a
      exe 'noremap' prefix.a:b prefix.a:b
    exe 'inoremap' a:a a:a
    exe 'inoremap' a:b a:b
    exe 'cnoremap' a:a a:a
    exe 'cnoremap' a:b a:b
  • Awesome! Works on every test case on the top of my head
    – Shahbaz
    Mar 7, 2018 at 21:24

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