I like what the shortcut Ctrl+Wf does, but I want to have a vertical split instead of horizontal.

I managed to achieve this by defining the following mapping:

nnoremap <c-w>f :vertical wincmd f<cr>

and in normal mode it works perfectly. But I failed to do the same for visual mode.

What I have tried so far:

" This yields 'E481: No range allowed
vnoremap <c-w>f :vertical wincmd f<cr>

" This just ignores my selection and behaves like <c-w>f in normal mode,
" i.e. attempts to open the file under cursor
vnoremap <c-w>f :<c-u>vertical wincmd f<cr>

How can I do such a thing for the visual mode?

  • <C-W>f is only defined for Normal mode. What makes you think it'll be of use in Visual mode too?
    – Matt
    Dec 27, 2019 at 17:18
  • @Matt I tried it without any custom mappings and found out that it works in visual mode. E. g. if you have line /home/ovandriyanov and visually select only /home, then vim opens /home, while in normal mode it opens /home/ovandriyanov. The only thing I would like to change is to have vertical split instead of horizontal. Dec 27, 2019 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


After you press : you got into cmdline-mode. And there's no direct way back into Visual from it (except normal! gv and such, but that's indirect through Normal). See :h mode-switching, because it's essential to understand how Vim works.

Therefore, you must do it in a different manner: while still in the Visual yank the selection and put it into the command line.

vnoremap <c-w>f y:vsplit +find<bslash><space><c-r>"<cr>

Note: if file name contains spaces you might also want to use :h escape() function.

BTW. The Normal mode mapping could also be rewritten in a similar manner:

nnoremap <c-w>f :vsplit +find<bslash><space><c-r><c-f><cr>

There's a single problem though: it always splits first, even if a file name was not found in path.

  • This is definetely a useful answer which will help me to figure out a proper solution, but I must say that the proposed solution indeed behaves imperfectly when the selected file does not exist: not only it splits the window when the file does not exist, it also starts editing the new file instead of giving the error message about searching for non-existent file. I believe I can work this around with some complex function, though. Dec 27, 2019 at 18:37
  • @OlegAndriyanov Not sure how you got such behaviour. There's E345 if file was not found.
    – Matt
    Dec 27, 2019 at 18:45
  • well I did nothing special, here is the tty capture demonstrating the issue terminalizer.com/view/6253c52a2672 Dec 27, 2019 at 19:32
  • 1
    @OlegAndriyanov You forgot backslash
    – Matt
    Dec 27, 2019 at 19:34
  • You are right. Thanks! Dec 27, 2019 at 19:38

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