I would like to write a script, maybe even using Python, that captures a key stroke in a Vim window. Let's say I am in insert mode and I type the letter g. I would like this key stroke to trigger some action, that I configure, while still typing in the letter. Also, this behaviour should not depend on the key that has been hit (in that case a simple remapping would do). So, I guess what I'm looking for is some kind of key-hit event I can exploit. Is such a thing available in Vimscript (possibly integrated with Python)?

  • What's the status? Does the answer below address your questions?
    – B Layer
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 8:12

1 Answer 1


There is an auto-command event InsertCharPre that detects entry of any character while in Insert mode yet still inserts it into the buffer. Here's a dead simple example (put this in your vimrc, for instance):

augroup InterceptKeyPress
    autocmd InsertCharPre * :echo localtime()
augroup END

You can run any vimscript you want in response to the event.

A quick test confirms it works as expected. The impact on overall usability is something you'll have to evaluate for yourself. :)

  • 1
    Ah, the flickering!!!
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 5:02
  • Hehe, yeah, that's one of the things I had in mind. Gotta admit, though, I've been playing with it and it runs pretty smoothly for me...but I'm running kind of a beast of a PC so there's that.
    – B Layer
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 5:06
  • Ah, only flickering in the messages-line :P
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 5:16
  • 1
    Yeah, with showmode set theres flickering between “INSERT” and “hello”
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 5:17
  • I have vim-airline going and it's still like butter. :)
    – B Layer
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 5:19

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