Because I am used to autocompleting by pressing the return/enter key, I want to remap the return key to Ctrl-p in insert mode. However, I only want to remap it when the cursor is directly behind a letter (a-z).

Is this possible?

  • With an expr mapping/custom function, maybe, but what is it you want to accomplish in both cases?
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Jan 25, 2018 at 22:47

1 Answer 1


Sure it is!

Try this expression mapping:

inoremap <expr> <CR> getline('.')[col('.') - 2] =~ '\a' ? "\<C-P>" : "\<CR>"

How this works:

  • getline('.')[col('.') - 2]: This returns the character immediately before the cursor (i.e. the one you just typed).
  • =~ '\a': This checks if the character is an alphabetic character a-z or A-Z
  • ? "\<C-P>" : "\<CR>": If the character is alphabetic then your keypress is mapped to <C-P>. If not, it is mapped to <CR>.

For more details, see:

  • :help :map-expr
  • :help expr1
  • :help getline()
  • :help col()
  • :help \a

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