I am trying to work more with the built-in terminal for vim 8.1 and reading through the docs noticed it has two keybindings for entering the normal Terminal-mode. CTRL+\ CTRL+N as well as CTRL+W CTRL+N.

While The CTRL+\ CTRL+N works the other does not, it seems that CTRL+W CTRL+N is associated with the :new command as well. Is this expected behavior or is there possibly a setting that I have on that might effect this that I can't find?

  • 3
    According to help the two equivalent commands are Ctrl-W N and Ctrl-\ Ctrl-N, i.e. the first one uses unadorned N. It's separate from the "create a new window" command.
    – B Layer
    Jan 26, 2019 at 2:04
  • 2
    Make sure to use a capital N, not a lowercase n Jan 28, 2019 at 12:56
  • Thanks, that actually was the issue... the capital.. I can't believe I made such a simple mistake.
    – Mike
    Jan 28, 2019 at 19:00
  • Thanks, Ctrl-\ Ctrl-n switched me back to NORMAL mode, so I was able to move across windows with Ctrl-w again. A bit tricky, a question of habit Apr 11, 2019 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


So, after the obvious blunder of not using a capital N 🤦‍♂️ ... I was able to get the remap working with the lowercase n (just for terminal) which is what I was hoping to get. This was done by adding the following to my vim startup.

tnoremap <C-W>n <C-\><C-n>
  • Just want to chime in that I too made the blunder of not realizing they meant capital N. Also typing C-\ is impossible on a nordic keyboard layout as `` is not accessible without holding other modifier keys (Swedish Mac layout requires Alt-Shift-7).
    – Spoike
    May 21, 2020 at 17:40

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