Known: <Ctrl>w then any of hjkl.

Known: :tab_<CR> where _ is either rlpn.

Why is there not a <Ctrl> navigation for tabs nor a : for splits? Why do the navigation commands differ in terminology?

One does not seek nmap solutions; one wants to learn Vim's native wormholes.

1 Answer 1


Tab navigation is one dimensional, so it has commands which mirror similar commands, :bn, :cp, etc.

Window navigation is two dimensional, so it has commands that align with the two dimensional normal mode motions, hjkl.

It should also be noted, in addition to the commands you listed, there are also both normal mode tab navigation commands: gt, gT, and command line window navigation commands: :wincmd h, :wincmd j.

  • 1
    @fde-capu When navigating tabs you can either move forwards or backwards. :tabl moves in the same direction as :tabn; it just moves further. Moving down, on the other hand is orthogonal to moving left.
    – Rich
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 21:41
  • What does rlpn stand for? Arbitrary choices? Is there a reference for what Vim commands 'stand for'?
    – fde-capu
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 21:46
  • Although note that you can also navigate through windows one dimensionally, with <c-w> w and <c-w> W.
    – Rich
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 21:48
  • 2
    @fde-capu Rewind. Last. Previous. Next. The best reference for this is probably the help. See e.g. :help :tabr
    – Rich
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 21:49
  • 1
    @fde-capu ...or for command-line commands, you can just press your wildchar (by default, tab) after typing the abbreviated version and see what it completes to. :tabr completes to :tabrewind.
    – Rich
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 21:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.