When using the vertical file/folder wild menu (ex: pressing Tab after :e or :cd ) and focused on a folder, is there a way to map a key to "move" inside that folder, and pick one of it's children ? If I press Enter, that is considered the "final answer", and the wildmenu is dismissed.

  • in Vim it is Cursor-Right Commented May 17, 2022 at 8:29
  • @ChristianBrabandt doesn't seem to be working in neovim, by default <Right> seems to just focus the next option Commented May 17, 2022 at 18:47

3 Answers 3


So after some trial and error, this seems to do the trick:

set wildcharm=<C-z>
cnoremap <Right> <Space><BS><Right><C-z>
cnoremap <expr> <Up> pumvisible() ? "\<C-p>" : "\<Up>"
cnoremap <expr> <Down> pumvisible() ? "\<C-n>" : "\<Down>"

  • <Up>/<Down> selects the item above/below the currently selected one, when there is a menu open. If there is no menu, cycles between commands starting with the currently entered command (default behaviour)
  • pressing <Right>:
    • with a folder selected: closes current menu, opens a new one with files/folders inside the previously selected folder, and selects the first item - but you can still use <Up>/<Down>/<Tab> to change the selected item, and if on a folder, can press <Right> to enter it
    • with a file selected: will simply close the menu - but you'll still have to confirm the choice by pressing Enter
  • to finalise selection, press Enter

Tested in neovim v0.8.0-dev (6613f58ce); doesn't seem to be working in vim (8.1.3741)


By default the same keys are used for both horizontal and vertical menu. That is, <Left> and <Right> to move selection and <Up> and <Down> to move between levels.

For this reason, I'd rather recommend to set wop-=pum and stick to horizontal menu layout.

  • They can be remapped though; horizontal can be quite restrictive, especially when you have long file/folder names - the available space fills up quite quickly Commented May 17, 2022 at 18:51

According to :help 'wildmenu' :

While the menu is active these keys have special meanings:

CTRL-Y      - accept the currently selected match and stop
CTRL-E      - end completion, go back to what was there before
          selecting a match.
<Left> <Right>  - select previous/next match (like CTRL-P/CTRL-N)
<Down>      - in filename/menu name completion: move into a
          subdirectory or submenu.
<CR>        - in menu completion, when the cursor is just after a
          dot: move into a submenu.
<Up>        - in filename/menu name completion: move up into
          parent directory or parent menu.

So just press down and for other commands like :h ...?, down accepts the item of the popup and waits for remainder of your command. Additionally you can try <C-d> or <C-f> when you are typing in command mode in Vim.

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