I installed vim-airline about 2 weeks ago. At that time I read a section in the FAQs about a delay occurring after exiting insert mode and into normal mode. I noticed the delay and applied the fix suggested by adding timeoutlen=50 to my .vimrc. After setting that vim-commentary started to not work. I would issue the command gcc and vim would do nothing until I hit hjkl or an arrow key, at which vim would delete the line and enter insert mode. I also noticed that my maps that used <leader> wouldn't work. Vim would skip a few characters and then enter visual mode.

I narrowed the problem down to the timeoutlen=50. I then set it to timeoutlen=1000 ttimeoutlen=10 and that resolved all the problems. Now, could anyone explain what's going on with vim when timeoutlen is set to a number like 50? Why was I having such weird issues? and why is everything resolved by setting timeoutlen to a much higher number and setting ttimeoutlen? and why did the FAQ suggest 50 when it created these errors?

  • I have installed vim-airline and timeoutlen, ttimeoutlen and esckeys is default (timeoutlen=1000 ttimeoutlen=-1 esckeys timeout nottimeout) and have no any problems, and no delay after exiting insert mode. By the way :he timeoutlen, :he timeout, :he esckeys should explain you I hope.
    – Alex Kroll
    Jul 16, 2015 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


I think this post explains the difference between timeoutlen and ttimeoutlen nicely, especially when used to fix issues with airline/powerline:

Another solution is to use timeoutlen and ttimeoutlen. timeoutlen is used for mapping delays, and ttimeoutlen is used for key code delays. My .vimrc has:

set timeoutlen=1000 ttimeoutlen=0

It might be more reasonable to give ttimeoutlen a more reasonable value, like 10ms, although I have encountered no issues yet.

This is especially nice with vim-powerline, which gives clear visual indication of the current mode.

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