Is there a way to programmatically check if Vim is currently in the recording mode triggered by q?

2 Answers 2


Since Vim 8.1-0020, there is a reg_recording() function that'll return the name of the current register being recorded. An empty string is returned if we are not recording.

  • That is the correct answer. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 12:32
  • 2
    @ChristianBrabandt. Well, it depends if the script needs to target older versions of Vim. In that case, statox' solution may be the only workaround available. Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 12:35
  • Why is vim using underscore notations for new functions? Isn't underscore notation deprecated in vim (I noticed a lot like buffer_name() is replaced by bufname())?
    – tga
    Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 15:11
  • @wengwengweng you should ask such questions on vim-dev mailing list Commented Aug 24, 2018 at 17:05

Edit I wasn't aware of reg_recording() but if you have a newer version of Vim Luc's answer is clearly the best answer.

I'm not aware of a built-in way to check if Vim is recording but you could use the following workaround in your .vimrc:

let g:isRecording = get(g:, 'isRecording', 0)
nnoremap q :let g:isRecording = !g:isRecording<CR>q

The first line will create a global variable g:isRecording which is falsy by default or takes its existing value if you re-source your .vimrc.

Then you remap q to toggle the value of g:isRecording when it toggles the recording mode and you can then test g:isRecording.

That's not the most elegant solution but as :h recording doesn't seem to mention a variable which would change with q and :h autocmd-events doesn't mention an event related to recording, I guess that the easiest way to do.

  • 1
    I'm curious. Why have you preferred to define an autocommand to initialize the global variable instead of setting it in the vimrc? (with let g:isRecording = get(g:, 'isRecording', 0) to permit to source the vimrc as many times as we wish) Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 12:01
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    @LucHermitte It was because I didn't think of resourcing the vimrc :)
    – statox
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 13:33

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