In gvim it is possible to get plugin-specific toolbars (see screenshot attached). Is something like this possible in nvim? Is there a GUI for nvim in which it is possible?

From Googling, the only thing I've been able to find is that this is an unpopular question to ask. Apparently using a toolbar is un-vim. I don't understand this. Toolbars do not necessarily involve using a mouse. They are a convenient way to get a quick list of keyboard shortcuts for plugins that may not be frequently used.

For example, sometimes I code in R and I use the excellent Nvim-R plugin. However, I can go for months at a time between R coding sessions, so I naturally forget some of the keybindings. Having a menu entry in a toolbar is a really easy way to jog my memory: enter image description here I would certainly be open to non-toolbar ways to achieve the same thing. Searching through the help each time is not efficient. Quickly outputting a list of keybindings in a side-bar window would be a good solution.

2 Answers 2


I built a plugin for this :)

It’s called popsikey: you define a prefix mapping, and a list of mappings under that prefix. When you type the prefix, all the mappings are presented in a navigable popup. You can then hit the actual mapping key, or navigate with j/k/enter/escape.

If popups aren’t supported, you just get all the mappings defined under the prefix. (Though the code uses features from fairly recent vim, like lambdas and method chaining, so it seems unlikely that popups aren’t supported if the plugin loads without error. Also, I haven’t tested with neovim and I don’t know what its popup API looks like.)

There are some slight limitations due to the RHS of maps being stringly-typed, but it does enough to be useful for simple things, and examples look fairly declarative.

Here's a screenshot with some ALE (<leader>a) commands mapped for ease-of-access:

enter image description here

  • A screenshot is a must for such a plugin.
    – eyal karni
    Aug 21, 2020 at 22:56
  • @eyalkarni how's that? I didn't crop it, but
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Aug 23, 2020 at 17:53
  • it looks nice indeed
    – eyal karni
    Aug 23, 2020 at 19:41
  • 1
    The #{k:v} you use isn't compatible with neovim probably.
    – eyal karni
    Aug 23, 2020 at 19:51
  • 1
    Yeh, Literal dicts are about to be introduced. I am waiting for this to happen. github.com/neovim/neovim/pull/12741
    – eyal karni
    Aug 26, 2020 at 21:39

First things first, Neovim itself is a server process (that also has a builtin fallback TUI, but it's not of interest here), which communicates with one (or several) frontend UI applications.

Now, all VimScript runs on "the server", while all the UI is drawn by "the frontend". Of course, there's an open inter-process communication channel between them, and you can even send messages from within VimScript, however, Neovim neither defines specific API for creating menus and toolbars, nor even requires "the frontend" to have them at all.

And so, it's theoretically possible, but in practice you just can't.

  • Ok, I think I understand. Is it correct to say that this is a consequence of the design of NeoVim relative to Vim?
    – evencoil
    Aug 24, 2020 at 14:52

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