I have a peculiar situation where the value of a number on the nvim screen on which the cursor is sitting gets decremented by 1 when I (often accidentally) hit <C-x><C-s> in commandline mode (I moved a few months ago after over 25 years with emacs. So, I was wanting to map my <C-x><C-s> to save the file in commandline mode.

I tried adding:

cnoremap <C-x><C-s> :w<cr> 

to map my <C-x><C-s> to save the file, and put this line in my .config/nvim/init.vim but it does not seem to be making any difference in the behavior of the key combination.

What am I doing wrong. At this point, I would be fine disabling <C-x><C-s> altogether as a last resort.

  • 1
    What's console mode? cnoremap works in command-line mode. Did you mean to use :nnoremap instead?
    – Friedrich
    Commented Jan 31 at 22:28
  • OK, command line mode, will edit. Commented Jan 31 at 23:41
  • 1
    I don't see how this mapping would make sense in command-line mode. Is the root cause maybe confusion of Vim's modes? See :help vim-modes or Vivian's answer.
    – Friedrich
    Commented Feb 1 at 7:10
  • 1
    There are some (largely historical, I believe) references to « command mode », which we now usually call Normal mode.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Feb 1 at 14:24
  • Do you still have something open in your question? How can we help you further? Otherwise maybe could you accept one of the solution using the v button next to the arrow voting buttons. It allow the question to rest :-) Commented Feb 1 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


One risk with the mapping:

cnoremap <C-x><C-s> :w<cr> 

is that that it assume that the command line is empty. If your command line is not empty it will merge the two.

E.g. if the command line contains :b it will run :b:w<CR>.

To avoid that confusion it is usually recommended to clear the command line first:

cnoremap <C-x><C-s> <c-u>w<cr>

Or in modern Vim:

cnoremap <C-x><C-s> <cmd>w<cr>

That being said the proposition of @Friedrich to do:

nnoremap <C-x><C-s> <cmd>w<cr>

will probably bring you closer to the Emacs experience.

From what you wrote ("the value of a number get decremented") make me believe that you actually hit Ctrl xCtrl s in normal mode. Indeed Ctrl x decrement the next integer on the line in normal mode.

And Ctrl a increases the next integer on the line (that I also found by accident).

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