I just learned that Vim has the :terminal command, which opens a window with a terminal session inside. Previously, my normal workflow was to launch vim from my terminal and use job control to get in and out of it (i.e. edit files, use <C-z> to put vim in the background, interact with my shell, then use fg to bring vim back to the foreground, then keep editing files).

Now that I know about :term, it would be nice to incorporate it into my workflow. However, I require the ability to still be able to use the workflow mentioned above. The problem is, <C-z> inside the terminal window inside vim gets interpreted by that window's shell. According to :help terminal-typing, using <C-w> N will enter Terminal-Normal mode. From there I can use <C-z> like I am used to doing. However, after I get back into vim, the terminal is still in Terminal-Normal mode, and I need to manually enter Terminal mode (using i or a or whatever).

Is there a way to send vim to the background from within a terminal window in such a way that leaves the terminal in Terminal mode? I'd like to set up some mappings such that I can treat the terminal window splits just like other vim windows seamlessly.

1 Answer 1


You can use Ctrl+W, : to enter Ex mode from the terminal, then use the :suspend command to suspend Vim (same as Ctrl+Z typically does.)

When you come back to Vim using fg, you'll be on your Vim terminal, which will be already in insert mode (since Ctrl+W, : only enters Ex mode for a single command.)

If you want to map Ctrl+Z in the terminal to suspend Vim (instead of suspending whatever foreground program the shell in the terminal is running), you can add the following mapping to your vimrc:

tnoremap <C-z> <C-w>:suspend<CR>

That way, Ctrl+Z on a terminal will behave the same as it behaves in a normal Vim buffer.

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