I use Colemak layout. In order to use hjkl I remapped several keys nearby with noremap. It works fine. However, window movement commands somehow do not recognize these mappings. E.g. although I have 'noremap n j' in my vimrc when I press <C-W> n it opens a new split instead of moving downwards.

It seems that <C-W> enters not operator pending mode but some other unknown state. Why is it the case? How can I do my mapping?

I don't want to map it like noremap <C-w>n <C-w>j because of the very small timeout (I need it for other commands).

1 Answer 1


CTRL-W starts a window command, that means, Vim enters a special mode, which won't timeout, awaiting another command and which does not allow maps. And this makes sense, since Ctrl-W is no command, after which a motion follows, so I wouldn't expect Operator Pending mode after Ctrl-W.

  • Oh. Well, this is reasonable, but having mappings for this mode also would be nice. Maybe I can squeeze something from langmap and exec mappings on Ctrl-W. Jul 23, 2017 at 20:17
  • "And this makes sense" but it makes no sense. :)
    – trusktr
    Dec 30, 2020 at 7:40
  • @trusktr what does not make sense? Dec 30, 2020 at 9:38
  • To an end user who hasn't delved into the details, pressing ctrl+w and seeing the character waiting for you looks exactly like operator pending mode. Even after reading your answer, I can't understand what it means (apart from perhaps it explaining simply what the code does, but I don't understand any reason the code should actually do that and why it can't just be operator pending).
    – trusktr
    Jan 1, 2021 at 4:05
  • @trusktr The simple answer is, since CTRL-W starts a window management comment, it cannot logically act on any cursor movement that follows it. It simply does not make sense, or what should happen if you press Ctrl-W followed by move to next word? It simply does not work as an operation that acts over whatever motion follows. Jan 1, 2021 at 17:32

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