On my previous setup, I used the following binding to move between my splits

nmap <silent> <A-Up> :wincmd k<CR>
nmap <silent> <A-Down> :wincmd j<CR>
nmap <silent> <A-Left> :wincmd h<CR>
nmap <silent> <A-Right> :wincmd l<CR>

Now I want to switch them to something more vim-like, using the 'hjkl' keys instead of the arrow pad. To do such, I mapped it like this :

nmap <silent> <A-k> :wincmd k<CR>
nmap <silent> <A-j> :wincmd j<CR>
nmap <silent> <A-h> :wincmd h<CR>
nmap <silent> <A-l> :wincmd l<CR>

But its not working.

Is there a specific thing to bind it to the alt key, or do I have to unbind it somewhere?


1 Answer 1


Alt-key combos emit different things on different systems. One thing you can do is map the actual key code that your system emits. Instead of something like <A-K> enter Ctrl+V followed by Alt+K. On my system that appears as ë but has the desired effect when I do Alt-K in Normal mode.

Of course, if you copy your vimrc file to a different system it may not work there.

Important general tip: Unless you have a definitive need to do otherwise always use nnoremap rather than nmap (same for inoremap, cnoremap, etc.)

  • Is there a way I can see what my system emits on the Alt-key combo?
    – bl4ckb0ne
    Dec 16, 2017 at 18:03
  • Create the mapping the way I suggest and you'll see. Most places in Vim where you can input text you can do Ctrl-V then the Alt key and you'll see.
    – B Layer
    Dec 16, 2017 at 19:31
  • I ended up mapping my split nav on Ctrl-{hjkl}, and put the tab nav on Ctrl-{op}, thanks for the help
    – bl4ckb0ne
    Dec 19, 2017 at 16:22
  • No problem. Were you able to get things working with Alt (even if you decided to use something else)?
    – B Layer
    Dec 19, 2017 at 16:42
  • 1
    Hmm. Okay, well if you come back to it let me know...it should work. Also take a look at the update to my answer as it has an important general tip.
    – B Layer
    Dec 21, 2017 at 15:53

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