I am using Vim 7.4 in Windows 7.

I am trying to map F2 to the following ex-command,

execute "normal ggf\<tab>"| execute "normal \<c-q>G$d"| %s/ \+//g

using the following mapping command

:nmap <F2> :execute "normal ggf\<tab>" \| execute "normal \<c-q>G$d" \| :%s/ \+//g

but when I press F2, the following shows up

:execute "normal ggf\^I" | execute "normal \G$d" |%s/ \+//g

The <tab> changes to ^I and <c-q> disappears. How can I prevent those changes to execute the original ex-command?


Note: <c-q> is the default visual block selection in Vim 7.4 in Windows.

Input and the result, enter image description here

As you can see the image below <c-q> disappears, enter image description here

  • 1
    I'm not sure what is your problem: ^I is the key code of <tab> so it is normal that it appears like this (see :h i_CTRL-V) and I think the same happens to <c-q>. Now if your problem is that your command appears but is not executed, it is because you didn't put <CR> at the end of the mapping which correspond to pressing Enter after you wrote your command.
    – statox
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 8:37
  • Thank you @statox I realized that <tab> is same as ^I but I was unaware of the <CR>. Unfortunately it still doesn't work. I get a E488 Trailing Error when executing :nunmap <F2> :execute "normal ggf\<tab>"|execute "normal \<c-q>G$d"|%s/ \+//g<CR> and when I execute nmap <F2> :execute "normal ggf\<tab>"|execute "normal \<c-q>G$d"<CR> I get E121: Undefined variable: CR E15: Invalid Expression "normal\<c-q>G$d" Note: <c-q> is used for visual block selection Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 9:21
  • 1
    The trailing error is because you only need nunmap <F2> if you want to remove the mapping from the key, no need to specify the expression of the mapping. For the second error I'm not sure but why do you use <c-q> for visual block? You can use <c-v> and if you use <c-q> because you remapped <c-v> then use normal! in your expression so that your mapping are not used.
    – statox
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 10:06

1 Answer 1


I have figured out the reason based on another vi stackexchange answer. Link.

Apparently the character < in <c-q> needs to be replaced by <lt>, though I do not know why but it solves the current problem. So the new mapping would be:

:nmap <F2> :execute "normal ggf\<tab>" \| execute "normal \<lt>c-q>G$d" \| :%s/ \+//g

Input: enter image description here

Result: enter image description here

And as per @statox's comment, <cr> needs to be added to the end of the mapping to actually execute the command.

So the final mapping would be:

:nmap <F2> :execute "normal ggf\<tab>" \| execute "normal \<lt>c-q>G$d" \| :%s/ \+//g<cr>

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