I'm using gnome-terminal, which uses 7-bit input. This means Vim's meta/alt keys, e.g. <M-f> don't work without some extra configuration. I know how to set that up for normal keys, like F, but not for Enter.

When I press Alt+F the terminal sends ^[ F, where the ^[ is a single Escape byte (\x1b). I can make <M-f> usable by doing:

set  <F13>=^[f
map  <F13> <M-f>
map! <F13> <M-f>

How can I do this for the Enter key (<CR>)?

  • 2
    did you try set <a-cr>=^[^M ?
    – Mass
    Mar 21, 2018 at 15:39
  • 1
    @Mass I did not, until you mentioned it, and it works! You should submit that as an answer and I'll mark it as such. Thanks!
    – ivan
    Mar 21, 2018 at 16:04
  • @Mass The next question is how to map Alt+Shift+Enter...
    – ivan
    Mar 21, 2018 at 16:10
  • It looks like gnome-terminal sends the same byte sequence for Alt+Shift+Enter as for Alt+Enter so I won't be able to use <M-S-CR>, at least not on this terminal. On a more configurable term like Alacritty I can though.
    – ivan
    Mar 21, 2018 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


On many terminals (specifically the ones that send alt-modified keys as escape then key), you can map alt+enter in the same way as many other alt combinations,

set <a-cr>=^[^M

This is two characters- escape then control m. Alternatively,

execute "set <a-cr>=\<esc>\<cr>"

Then you can then use <a-cr> in maps;

nnoremap <a-cr> something

There is no standard way to map alt+shift+enter, or indeed any other alt+shift+ combination. Also, if your terminal supports it, you will have to use one of the unused F keys, e.g. <f13> through <f37> on linux (since there's no <s-c-cr> key code in vim) set to your terminal's proprietary escape sequence.

set <f25>=...

For example, my terminal sends escape, escape, then OM (four characters):

set <f25>=^[^[OM
  • 1
    There are even more unused Function keys beyond F26, though they're undocumented, They seem to go up to 37.
    – ivan
    Mar 22, 2018 at 3:05
  • 1
    Good catch. Indeed, the number 37 is pretty mysterious.
    – Mass
    Mar 22, 2018 at 3:18
  • For neovim the command should be map <a-cr>, the set ... semantic will output error: Unknown option: set. Apr 4, 2021 at 15:06

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