I want to bind Control+Backspace in insert mode to delete a word. I'm able to bind Control+Del in both insert and normal modes, but I can only seem to bind Control+Del in normal mode. I've checked many other posts and none of the fixes worked for me.

  • terminal vim
  • Kubuntu 21.10
  • Konsole 21.08.1

Even on 21.04 at some point after upgrading packages, Control+Backspace in insert or normal to delete a word stopped working.

I can confirm this does not work on archlinux with XTerm either.

Different things I have tried:

silent !stty -ixon  
set encoding=utf-8
set fileencoding=utf-8
"let &t_TI = "\<Esc>[>4;2m"
"let &t_TE = "\<Esc>[>4;m"
"let &t_TI = ""
"let &t_TE = ""

I'm not sure what happened, but it used to work. This is my previous vimrc:

" (used to work before upgrading)
noremap! <C-BS> <C-w>
noremap! <C-h> <C-w>
inoremap <C-w> <C-\><C-o>dB
inoremap <C-BS> <C-\><C-o>db

This is what I have currently:

"delete previous word
nnoremap ^H db       

"does not work(aggregate of different things i tried)-
inoremap <C-^?> sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap <C-BS> sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap <C-kBS> sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap <C-D> sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap <C-kD> sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap ^H sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap ^_^H sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap ^_^? sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap ^V^V^V^H sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap ^V^H sdsldkjfddjfkd
inoremap <C-h> sdsldkjfddjfkd

"this one works in insert mode, sending this text when pressing only backspace
inoremap ^V^? sdsldkjfddjfkd

"delete next word-working
inoremap <C-kDel> <C-o>dw
nnoremap <C-kDel> dw

vim --version
VIM - Vi IMproved 8.2 (2019 Dec 12, compiled Sep 21 2021 08:39:53)
Included patches: 1-2434, 3402-3403, 3409, 3428
Modified by [email protected]
Compiled by [email protected]
Huge version without GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):
+acl               -farsi             +mouse_sgr         +tag_binary
+arabic            +file_in_path      -mouse_sysmouse    -tag_old_static
+autocmd           +find_in_path      +mouse_urxvt       -tag_any_white
+autochdir         +float             +mouse_xterm       -tcl
-autoservername    +folding           +multi_byte        +termguicolors
-balloon_eval      -footer            +multi_lang        +terminal
+balloon_eval_term +fork()            -mzscheme          +terminfo
-browse            +gettext           +netbeans_intg     +termresponse
++builtin_terms    -hangul_input      +num64             +textobjects
+byte_offset       +iconv             +packages          +textprop
+channel           +insert_expand     +path_extra        +timers
+cindent           +ipv6              -perl              +title
-clientserver      +job               +persistent_undo   -toolbar
-clipboard         +jumplist          +popupwin          +user_commands
+cmdline_compl     +keymap            +postscript        +vartabs
+cmdline_hist      +lambda            +printer           +vertsplit
+cmdline_info      +langmap           +profile           +virtualedit
+comments          +libcall           -python            +visual
+conceal           +linebreak         +python3           +visualextra
+cryptv            +lispindent        +quickfix          +viminfo
+cscope            +listcmds          +reltime           +vreplace
+cursorbind        +localmap          +rightleft         +wildignore
+cursorshape       -lua               -ruby              +wildmenu
+dialog_con        +menu              +scrollbind        +windows
+diff              +mksession         +signs             +writebackup
+digraphs          +modify_fname      +smartindent       -X11
-dnd               +mouse             -sound             -xfontset
-ebcdic            -mouseshape        +spell             -xim
+emacs_tags        +mouse_dec         +startuptime       -xpm
+eval              +mouse_gpm         +statusline        -xsmp
+ex_extra          -mouse_jsbterm     -sun_workshop      -xterm_clipboard
+extra_search      +mouse_netterm     +syntax            -xterm_save
   system vimrc file: "$VIM/vimrc"
     user vimrc file: "$HOME/.vimrc"
 2nd user vimrc file: "~/.vim/vimrc"
      user exrc file: "$HOME/.exrc"
       defaults file: "$VIMRUNTIME/defaults.vim"
  fall-back for $VIM: "/usr/share/vim"
Compilation: gcc -c -I. -Iproto -DHAVE_CONFIG_H -Wdate-time -g -O2 -ffile-prefix-map=/build/vim-MtnJpP/vim-8.2.2434=. -flto=auto -ffat-lto-objects -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=1
Linking: gcc -Wl,-Bsymbolic-functions -flto=auto -Wl,-z,relro -Wl,-z,now -Wl,--as-needed -o vim -lm -ltinfo -lselinux -lacl -lattr -lgpm -L/usr/lib/python3.9/config-3.9-x86_64-linux-gnu -lpython3.9 -lcrypt -ldl -lm -lm 

OS: Kubuntu 21.10 x86_64 
Host: 82AU Lenovo Legion 5 15IMH05 
Kernel: 5.13.0-19-generic 
Uptime: 3 hours, 34 mins 
Packages: 2338 (dpkg) 
Shell: bash 5.1.8 
DE: Plasma 5.22.5 
Terminal: konsole 

If the new version specifies a new way to bind these keys, how do we do it

Also, I am completely okay with Control+h in insert mode deleting a word back too; that's how it's currently working in normal mode.

Note: on konsole, keybindings are set to Default(XFree 4). The &t_TI option to disable modifyOtherKeys didn't do anything.

In vim, Control+Del sends ^[3;5~ while Control+Backspace sends ^H.

In konsole: Control+Del sends ^[[3;5~ while Control+Backspace sends ^H.

Control+Backspace works in vim-gtk(gvim) on the same machine. Should I manually configure konsole to send another sequence on pressing Control+Backspace? or is it sttys fault? or xmodmap? or vim?

  • Terminal input processing is annoying. Might not be easily doable -- I haven't figured it out anyway. If you prefer ctrl-backspace, I recommend just using gVim if you can. Oct 19, 2021 at 10:01
  • @Zoe yep i caved and just bound it to <kbd>ctrl</kbd> + <kbd>\</kbd>. i dont want to downgrade to a previous version of vim(vim 7), because I run (k)ubuntu 21.10 and archlinux so i need keybindings to be uniform. gvim wouldve suited my needs, but i only use terminal vim on archlinux for battery-friendly editing BTW thanks @D.\ Ben\ Knoble for formatting the post, will keep it in mind next time
    – User
    Oct 21, 2021 at 6:03

1 Answer 1


<C-H> still works in xfce4-terminal, and in the default Mac Terminal program to bind <C-Backspace>.

I am using the following version of Vim.

$ vim --version
VIM - Vi IMproved 9.0 (2022 Jun 28, compiled Aug 02 2022 21:22:22)
Included patches: 1-135
Compiled by Arch Linux
Huge version with GTK3 GUI.  Features included (+) or not (-):

In xfce4-terminal, in Edit>Preferences>Compatibility>Backspace Generates, I set the value to auto, but I suspect <C-H> would also work. On my Mac, I had to specify in Terminal>Profiles>Keyboard, that <C-Backspace> should be interpreted as \010, which happens to be <C-H> typed in the keyboard.

You can test if this is a terminal problem or a vim problem by typing <C-V><C-Backspace> in your terminal bash prompt (if you are using bash, might be different for zsh or other shells). You should see ^H or another output. If you see nothing, your terminal is set up incorrect, so that it cannot read <C-Backspace>. Go into settings/preferences for the terminal application and try to see if you can change the terminal mapping for <C-Backspace>. If you see something other than ^H, use that output in your vim mappings. If you see ^H, and still cannot map it in vim, I am stumped.

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