I use quite a lot cw to change a word. I put the cursor on the start of the word, then cw followed by the new word and then <esc>.

So far, so good. My problem is that after that the cursor is at the end of the (new) word. I know I can move back with b, but it's possible to define a modified version of cw so that the movement is automatic at the end of the insert?

  • By the way, I discovered that that was a case of XY problem --- what I really want here is to learn about ciw (change inner word).
    – Rmano
    Mar 16, 2017 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


You can use a :help :map-expression that defines a fire-once autocmd on InsertLeave (i.e. when you're done with the change) to move back the cursor. I've used `[; instead of the b motion, because that also handles multiple inserted words. Since I wouldn't want to override cw, I've chosen c,w:

function! ToStartOfChange()
    augroup ToStartOfChange
        autocmd ToStartOfChange InsertLeave * execute 'normal! g`[' | autocmd! ToStartOfChange
    augroup END
    return 'cw'
nnoremap <expr> c,w ToStartOfChange()
  • +1 and thanks, it works; but it has a problem: if I repeat the change after the first one with . the "going back" is not repeated. I am accepting the answer because I really did not specify that thing...
    – Rmano
    Mar 17, 2015 at 13:50
  • 1
    You need to use the repeat.vim plugin to make repeat work. Unfortunately, that requires some more boilerplate code, like <Plug> mappings. Mar 17, 2015 at 19:01

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