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In my .vimrc, I have the following exec command:

inoremap <C-f> <Esc>: silent exec '.!inkscape-figures create "'.getline('.').'" "'.b.vimtex.root.'/figures/"'<CR><CR>:w<CR>

where inkscape-figures create (figure) is a bash command. However, I want to include the following command


inkscape-figures watch

to be executed when I press CTRL+F in insert mode.

I dont understand the syntax of exec and I haven't found anything similar online.

  • Welcome to Vi and Vim! Can you clarify what parts you don’t understand? Have you read :help :execute and :help :map? – D. Ben Knoble Sep 16 at 12:12
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You seem to be under the impression that "exec" is used to execute external shell commands, but that's not the case.

The :execute command is simply used to run a Vimscript from a string, and this is used in this case to assemble a shell command-line from a string, to include arguments for the contents of the current line and also the path to the figures/ directory.

Then this is being passed to a :.! command, which runs the external command on a shell, passing the current line through the standard input, and then replacing the current line with the output produced by the external command. (See :help :range!, where . is being used as a range for the current line.)

However, I want to include the inkscape-figures watch command to be executed when I press CTRL+F in insert mode.

You can similarly use that as a filter, or use the :r! command to simply read the output of the external command, without any input, and pasting it below the current line.

For example:

:r!inkscape-figures watch

If that's what you want, you can map that to the Ctrl-F combination in insert mode using:

inoremap <C-f> <Esc>:r!inkscape-figures watch<CR>o

It seems you actually want to execute both commands with the Ctrl-F keypress. You can surely do that, either use the two commands in sequence with <CR> in between them, or execute both commands in a single shell separating them with ; or perhaps && (i.e. anything you can do on a shell.)

We'd need more details about what exactly you want to be able to give you a more detailed and complete answer, but hopefully this addresses your point about "exec" and gives you enough pointers to be able to come up with a useful mapping on your own.

  • Thank you very much, I have exactly been looking for this! – Aericura Sep 17 at 12:21

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