I want to disable the arrow keys in Normal mode, Insert mode, and Visual mode.

To achive this, I've created 12 mappings (see below) - 4 mappings for each mode.

Is there a way to achieve the same using only 4 mappings (or 4 lines in `~/.vimrc)?

E.g. nnoremap inoremap vnormap <left> <nop>.

NB: I've looked at :h nore and considered noremap, but it doesn't include Visual mode.

" Disable arrow keys (Normal mode)
nnoremap <left> <nop>
nnoremap <down> <nop>
nnoremap <up> <nop>
nnoremap <right> <nop>

" Disable arrow keys (Insert mode)
inoremap <left> <nop>
inoremap <down> <nop>
inoremap <up> <nop>
inoremap <right> <nop>

" Disable arrow keys (Visual mode)
vnoremap <left> <nop>
vnoremap <down> <nop>
vnoremap <up> <nop>
vnoremap <right> <nop>
  • 1
    noremap considers Visual and Normal. I see no way consider Visual, Normal and Insert all in one command in :h map-modes.
    – Quasímodo
    Sep 12, 2020 at 10:33
  • 1
    Please stop repeatedly creating a visual tag. The tag for visual mode is ... visual-mode. Similarly for the other modes.
    – muru
    Sep 12, 2020 at 10:49
  • 3
    As <nop> cannot be remapped, simply :map and :imap will work okay. However, I feel obliged to add, that the whole idea of remapping cursor keys is a sort of "Vixtremism".
    – Matt
    Sep 12, 2020 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


There's no native mapping command that creates the same mapping in both Normal and Insert modes.

That's perfectly understandable, since the expansion of a Normal-mode mapping will be executed in Normal-mode (interpreted as Normal-mode commands), while an Insert-mode mapping will be expanded in Insert-mode, inserted into the buffer. So it's quite rare that the same mapping will work on both Normal and Insert modes...

There's :map or :noremap that will create a mapping for both Normal, Visual and also Select and Operator-pending modes, so that can take care of it for you.

See :help map-modes for the list of all available mapping modes.

So, assuming you're ok with also covering Operator-pending mode while disabling arrow keys, you could bring this down to only two blocks, one with :noremap and one with :inoremap, reducing this snippet from 12 to 8 lines total.

(There's also :map! and noremap! which cover Insert and Command-line modes, in case you're interested in disabling these in Command-line too.)

If you really want to do it in a single line, you could do that by defining a function:

function! Map(lhs, rhs, modes)
  for m in a:modes
    execute m.'noremap' a:lhs a:rhs

And then you could use it as:

call Map('<left>', '<nop>', ['n', 'i', 'v'])
call Map('<down>', '<nop>', ['n', 'i', 'v'])
call Map('<up>', '<nop>', ['n', 'i', 'v'])
call Map('<right>', '<nop>', ['n', 'i', 'v'])

But, since writing the function took you 5 lines, and the mappings are much more harder to read or understand, this is probably not worth it...

  • 1
    Thank you for a clarification :-)
    – Shuzheng
    Sep 13, 2020 at 12:15

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