I've recently decided to improve my multiple-pane Vim workflow, so I'm adding some new mappings to avoid the awkward <C-W> command. Here's what I have currently:

" split-pane navigation remaps                                                   
nnoremap <c-j> <c-w>j                                                            
nnoremap <c-k> <c-w>k                                                            
nnoremap <c-h> <c-w>h                                                            
nnoremap <c-l> <c-w>l                                                            
nnoremap <c-|> :vsplit<cr>                                                     
nnoremap <c-_> :split<cr>                                                        
set splitbelow                                                                   
set splitright  

Right now, everything works except the <c-|> vertical split. It is my understanding that the syntax would normally be <c-|>, but since | is a special character, it must be escaped. Here's what I found through :help map_bar

Since the '|' character is used to separate a map command from the next          
command, you will have to do something special to include  a '|' in {rhs}.       
There are three methods:                                                         
   use       works when                    example      ~                        
   <Bar>     '<' is not in 'cpoptions'     :map _l :!ls <Bar> more^M             
   \|        'b' is not in 'cpoptions'     :map _l :!ls \| more^M                
   ^V|       always, in Vim and Vi         :map _l :!ls ^V| more^M               

(here ^V stands for CTRL-V; to get one CTRL-V you have to type it twice; you     
cannot use the <> notation "<C-V>" here).

Unfortunately, I've tried the following and none of them seem to work:

nnoremap <c-|> :vsplit<cr>    
nnoremap <c-\|> :vsplit<cr>    
nnoremap <c-<bar>> :vsplit<cr>    
nnoremap <c-^V|> :vsplit<cr>    

And yes, I got ^V by holding Control and double-tapping V, not by typing Caret V. Thanks, any ideas would be appreciated!

  • 1
    What kind of keyboard are you using? Oh my macbook, the \ key requires a shift press and I don't think CTRL+SHIFT mappings are possible. Also, have you tried escaping \<bar>?
    – Jay Dorsey
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 2:35
  • 2
    I'm using a standard US keyboard layout on my Ubuntu 16.04 laptop. I just tried \<bar>, that didn't work either.
    – TimD1
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 2:41
  • 1
    The correct syntax would've been <c-bar>. Unfortunately, <bar> usually doesn't work with control key Vim: vim_faq.txt
    – otter.pro
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 19:05
  • Thanks for a definitive answer! Too bad it's a no.
    – TimD1
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


Use <c-\>, which despite the backslash doesn't need to be escaped in maps.

Alternatively, <c-bslash> is the same, useful in cases such as strings where the backslash has meaning.

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