I've written a Vim script that inserts Unicode mathematical notation into what I'm editing. It's basically a few hundred lines of code that look like :map! \bbq ℚ.

Sometimes I want to enable all of these definitions together. And sometimes I want to switch them all back off again. Really I want some kind of mode where they are enabled. But I'd like to switch them on and off while editing other types of file, like C++ source or plain text. What's the best way to organize this? Do I need to write a few hundred unmaps? Or is there some way of undoing a whole lot of mappings in bulk? Can I wrap this up in some kind of mode?

1 Answer 1


If you need those mappings only for certain kinds of files, define them in a script separate from your ~/.vimrc and as buffer-local mappings:

:map! <buffer> \bbq ℚ

You can then :source path/to/script.vim on demand. Alternatively, by putting the script into ~/.vim/ftplugin/{filetype}_mappings.vim, they will be automatically loaded whenever Vim's filetype detection (cp. :help filetype) recognizes {filetype} (e.g. tex for Latex documents).

If you still need to remove the mappings for the particular buffer, there's no way around defining corresponding :unmap <buffer> commands, or maybe using the hack of :set paste (which disables all mappings and has other side effects).

  • 2
    Could also use an expression mapping with some conditional. e.g. map! <expr> \bbq get(g:, 'use_mappings', 1) ? 'ℚ' : '\bbq'. Now you can do :let g:use_mappings = 0 to turn off the mappings. I also feel like these mappings should be abbreviations instead of mappings. May 19, 2015 at 23:52
  • @PeterRincker I like to be able to search for α say by typing /\alpha. That works with map! but not ab.
    – Dan Piponi
    May 20, 2015 at 3:39

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