When running :browse oldfiles, if the output goes longer than one screen then you have to hit <space> for the next screen or <esc> to go to the menu where you can type the number of the old file you want to edit.

I'm trying to create a mapping that automatically enters <esc> for me while the :browse command is still in progress, saving me a keypress. This will leave me in the command mode where I just enter a number. I tried this mapping: nmap <F5> :bro ol \| call feedkeys('<Esc>') but that doesn't work. The feedkeys function call doesn't want to kick in until the browse command finishes. How can I do this?

I could also use FZF, Telescope or another plugin to bring up recently-opened files, but the :browse oldfiles command is faster even if it's more limited than what a plugin can provide

2 Answers 2


There's no need in pressing escape. Type simply :e#<X to open old file no. X while browsing through the list.

  • Thank you, but I want to seed :e#< ahead of time, so that all I have to do is press a number.
    – Ryan
    Aug 12, 2021 at 17:54

I found one solution. In nvim there is the nvim_input() function call. I made a command: command! Bro :call nvim_input('<Esc>') | bro ol. I mapped that command to a key. When I press it, it shows me one screen full of the names of the most recently opened files, and all I have to do is type a number and enter.

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