I'm a Colemak keyboard layout user and I recently started to learn and use Vim.

I was able to map the arrow keys in the normal mode by putting custom mappings such as noremap u k in .vimrc (because the keys h, j, k, and i are in different places in the Colemak layout).

However, when I tried to use NERDTree, navigating through the NERDTree menu became very hard for me for I have to reach j and k key to navigate up and down (those keys are y and k in QWERTY).

Is there a way to map those two keys into other keys?

I would really appreciate any help!

1 Answer 1


if you look at the documentation (:help NERDTree-t), you'll see that each of the command have a name and a default key.

To remap for example NERDTreeMapUpdir to the 'a' key, you just have to add to you .vimrc:

let NERDTreeMapUpdir='a'
  • 1
    It worked! Thank you so much! It wasn't working when I tried to set let NERDTreeMenuDown = "e" and the reason was that the key e has been bound to something else, so by setting the NERDTreeMapOpenExpl to some other key solved the issue.
    – David
    Apr 20, 2019 at 20:18
  • sidenote: when I made the change instantly in :ex, like :let NERD...='x' this didn't work. Also changing this in vimrc and then :source it didn't work. Somehow I had to restart vim for the change in vimrc to take effect
    – MacMartin
    May 17, 2021 at 13:16

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