I'd like to experiment one of the tip by Drew Neil in his Vimcast, that is to "escape" regularly, so that it gives more granularity to the "undo" command.

For example, I write one short sentence. Then I press Escape. Then I press a to continue my editting and write another sentence. So when I press my final escape, I can press u several times and only one sentence at a time will disappear, not the whole text.

I was wondering if I could remap this simple sequence, (for example with kj):

inoremap kj <esc>a

The key remapping works (it feels like I didn't exit insert mode), but the problem is, when I use kj to mark a pause after a sentence, then if I write another sentence and press escape, then pressing u will erease my two sentences at once, and therefore I don't benefit the granularity I was looking for in the first place.

Why is it pressing kj doesn't have the same effect on the undo command compared to pressing manually escape + a ?

And, is there a way to do the remaping with the desired effect?

  • 1
    does ctrl-g u in insert mode already do what you want?
    – Mass
    Jan 25, 2019 at 16:58
  • @Mass Yes it's exactly the desired effect. Remapping inoremap kj <c-g>u is working with the undo command too, that's great. Thank you so much! I can accept this answer if you may add it. I have no idea, what ctrl-g means in insert mode, it seems ctrl-g + k and ctrl-g + j go up and down one line while breaking the undo tree.
    – Yoric
    Jan 25, 2019 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


How about inoremap jk <c-O><esc>? <c-O> in insert mode is executing one command and return to insert mode. So it executes <esc> and return to insert mode.

Though it is unable for me to explain precisely because it is depended on Vim's specification, I guess that it is because when you map <esc> to some keys, it will be executed as one general command, not as <esc>, and Vim records one set of strokes for insert mode from enter to it to press <esc>. The command we define seems not to be regarded as <esc> even if it includes <esc> inside.

See this link and :help i_CTRL-G_u

  • Thanks @Szkieletor for your awsome answer. The <c-O><esc> sequence is perfect for this purpose in insert mode. The link and the help reference you provided are much appreciated (I couldn't find it)
    – Yoric
    Jan 31, 2019 at 12:43

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