I am running Vim version 8.0.563 on Solaris and when I run Vim, the CtrlV block selection works as expected, I type ^V and move the cursor and a block of text is highlighted by columns. So far, so good.

Meanwhile, for another user running Vim from my directory with my .vimrc file, this does not work. The ^V is ignored and moving the cursor, moves the cursor but nothing is highlighted. Regular v, block mode works but the ^V column block mode is broken.

I tried entering:

vim --noplugin -u /dev/null

and it acts the same. I checked the shared libraries and they are the same. I tried clearing out (almost) all the environment variables, still no joy.

Does anybody have any good ideas of what is wrong or something else to try?

Thank you in advance.

  • Or would I do well to repost this over in the VI/VIM area? There are lots of VIM questions here but nobody has commented. If I ask a C question, I get answers in seconds. I guess I'll wait a few days and see how it goes. Apr 21, 2017 at 20:55
  • Does the ctrl-v alternative ctrl-q work? See :help ctrl-v-alterantive.
    – Habi
    Apr 22, 2017 at 12:55
  • 1
    I have the same thing happening. Neither Ctrl-V or Ctrl-Q work
    – Bob Bryan
    Apr 22, 2017 at 23:06
  • 1
    Are you sure it is not working or is it perhaps just not displaying the highlighting correct? Apr 25, 2017 at 6:26
  • 1
    Could it be the terminal intercepting the "ctrl-v"? Can you try "CTRL-V" "CTRL-V"? Apr 25, 2017 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


I had the same problem when working in the windows terminal via Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Some searching learned me that the problem is caused by the fact that CTRL-V is used for pasting. The solution for me was to add:

nnoremap q <c-v>

to my .vimrc Then you can use the q-key to get into visual block mode.

  • 1
    I noticed the same in Windows Terminal, because it intercepts the ctrl-V and pastes from the clipboard. My work-around is to use ` {"command": "paste", "keys": ["ctrl+shift+insert"]},` in the config Oct 19, 2020 at 14:40
  • 2
    Welcome to Vi and Vim! Did <C-q> not work for you? (:help CTRL-V-alternative)
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Oct 19, 2020 at 15:19
  • 1
    No, <C-q> does not work, unfortunately
    – mark79
    Oct 20, 2020 at 19:48
  • 1
    Just a note that this hides the macro-recording key, which can be extremely useful.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Oct 20, 2020 at 20:42

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