I am trying to implement a vimscript function which appends to a terminal buffer. It works when I write this as a single mapping which uses the normal mode 'a' command to append:

nnoremap <Leader>glq :tabnew<CR>:terminal<CR>:set ft=instaflog<CR>als<CR>

But I want this in a function to make the code clearer. However, using append() or insert() I get the error stating that the terminal buffer is not modifiable, which I guess is strictly true, but every keypress is passed on to the terminal. So far, I have:

function! TerminalSomething() abort
  set ft=instaflog
  execute "normal! Ayyy" 

But the 'yyy' text doesn't appear; that execute line apparently does nothing for terminal buffers, even though it works for all other buffer types.

  • First thing I try when text is seemingly being ignored is to send it with feedkeys().
    – B Layer
    May 12, 2021 at 10:00
  • Brilliant; ` call feedkeys("Als\<CR>")` works. Convert to answer so I can give you points? May 12, 2021 at 10:05

1 Answer 1


This sounds like a job for feedkeys(). What makes me think that* is the fact that you got the response you wanted when the command was included in a mapping. Looking at the first sentence of the documentation for the function:

Characters in {string} are queued for processing as if they come from a mapping or were typed by the user.

(Emphasis is mine.)

So instead of

execute "normal! als" 


call feedkeys("als\<CR>")

Be sure to read the docs as there are some important things to be aware of there such as the need to escape special keys/keycodes as is done here with <CR>.

*Besides the fact that whenever output seems to be ignored I usually try feedkeys() as a first step.

  • instead of 'whatever', I'd suggest ls\<CR> since that shows how to escape the enter you will need at the end to issue a terminal command, and it can be pasted in and tested directly. May 12, 2021 at 10:21
  • 1
    There's also term_sendkeys(), not sure how that's different or why you'd use it over feedkeys(), but probably worth having a look.
    – filbranden
    May 12, 2021 at 12:11

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