I frequently work with code style which asks that many non-class symbols use snake_case -- Python, Ruby, and C especially. If I have a symbol like longfirstpart_longsecondpart, I'd like to be able to jump to the underscore in the middle à la w skipping to the next word.

Is there a built-in shortcut or init.vim variable for this kind of behaviour?

3 Answers 3


This can be done very easily with the iskeyword option. From :h iskeyword

                        *'iskeyword'* *'isk'*
'iskeyword' 'isk'   string (Vim default for MS-DOS and Win32:
                   otherwise:  "@,48-57,_,192-255"
                Vi default: "@,48-57,_")
            local to buffer
            {not in Vi}
    Keywords are used in searching and recognizing with many commands:
    "w", "*", "[i", etc.  It is also used for "\k" in a |pattern|.  See
    'isfname' for a description of the format of this option.  For C
    programs you could use "a-z,A-Z,48-57,_,.,-,>".
    For a help file it is set to all non-blank printable characters except
    '*', '"' and '|' (so that CTRL-] on a command finds the help for that

So add this to your .vimrc:

set iskeyword-=_

and that should work for you.

  • 1
    While this does work in terms of just skipping forward, it completely breaks my colorscheme if I add an underscore or a slash as a keyword. Any way around that?
    – Jules
    Oct 5, 2017 at 19:23
  • what colorscheme is this? Oct 7, 2017 at 7:15

I would simply use f_, but that means I know I want to move to the underscore instead of abstractly to the next word.

You can repeat the last f with ;, and both f and ; accept a count.

  • 2
    Not only does ; go forward again but , goes backward. Sorta like hitting N instead of n after a search. Oct 6, 2017 at 21:25

There are exist two plugins for the improving experience to move through camelCase and snake_case.

  1. The first one is he camelcasemotion plugin, defining the additional commands, normally prepended with a comma. But this one is old and unmaintained for many years.

  2. The second one is actively developed, and uses completely different approach - vim-wordmotion. It redefines the word boundaries, so all default commands will work as is, just within new rules:


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