I'm writting a complete script, and when the function is triggered in i mode, I need to delete the word under the cursor and call the function complete to put new words. I only know to delete the origin word by <backspace>. Is there a good way to delete the word in i mode?

  • :norm! diw should be enough. And what do you mean the function will be triggered in i mode?
    – 3N4N
    Mar 26, 2019 at 3:04
  • But using :normal! diw and then call complete, the position where I put the new word will be different if the cursor is at the end of line or not
    – NiaBie
    Mar 26, 2019 at 6:17
  • I don't have any experience with utilizing :h complete(), sorry. But I don't think some corner cases would be hard to solve. Maybe if you have some test examples, it would be easier to try.
    – 3N4N
    Mar 26, 2019 at 6:46

3 Answers 3


complete({startcol}, {matches}) provides the function to replace the old word. You can use complete(col(".") - ${length}, {matches}) to replace the old word, ${length} is the length of your old word.

  • But in this way you can't delete the part of the word which is on the right side of the cursor.
    – NiaBie
    Mar 26, 2019 at 10:45
  • You can use cursor() to move your cursor to the end of the word. You can learn how to use the function with :h cursor Mar 26, 2019 at 10:57

Although you can use c-w in i mode to delete until start of current word, it's much more convenient to switch to normal mode to change the entire word.

inoremap <leader>c <c-o>diw<c-r>=complete()<cr>
  • Of course, <c-x> is a very important sub-mode in vim. So, not very wise to shadow it. You should mention that.
    – 3N4N
    Mar 26, 2019 at 6:47
  • you don't need to switch to normal mode, you can use c-o to switch temporarily to normal mode just for ciw, c-r also works in insert mode. Mar 26, 2019 at 6:55
  • Good points. I found that i need another l operation to move the cursor after switch back to normal mode.
    – dedowsdi
    Mar 26, 2019 at 7:13

If complete conforms to the spec of 'completefunc' (or can be made to, either by editing or wrapping it):

set completefunc=complete

Then just use <C-x>u in insert mode (see :help ins-completion).

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