Just starting to get into Vim and facing the classic escape problem. I'm thinking binding CapsLock to be control when used with another key, and escape when released without pressing anything else would be a great solution. However, I don't want to do that if escape is used in some important key combinations.

  • 1
    Esc itself is a combination: Ctrl-[
    – muru
    Sep 24, 2019 at 6:53
  • for terminals, yes, like e.g. Cursor Key movement, Alt-Key combinations, and various other ones I do not currently remember. Sep 24, 2019 at 7:20
  • @ChristianBrabandt in those cases, it's not a combination, but a sequence, right?
    – muru
    Sep 24, 2019 at 8:42
  • @muru yeah that is true. Sep 24, 2019 at 11:20
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    Yes. A combination usually involves keeping one key pressed while pressing others, and that only when one of the keys is a modifier, like Ctrl, Super, Meta, etc. Keeping Esc pressed is just going to generate a sequence of Escs. (You can't have a combination of, say a and b, for example, or Enter and Tab.)
    – muru
    Sep 24, 2019 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


If, when you write "combination", you are referring to when two keys are pressed simultaneously (sometimes also called "chords" by analogy with musical terminology), then Escape cannot be used in such combinations and thus you're safe to rebind your Caps Lock key in this way.

Note that hundreds* of other Vim users (including me) already do this with no ill effect other than the fact that it becomes more difficult to use other people's computers once you get used to it. It's for this latter reason that I'm not sure if I'd recommend you do this, but it's totally fine to do so, at least as far as Vim is concerned.

* Thousands? Millions?!?

  • 1
    @me in your second paragraph. I love my control key (it happens to say CapsLock, but whatever). However, nobody else has one like it, and typing on their keyboards is annoying!
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Sep 27, 2019 at 1:37

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