After remapping / to something other than search, how can I open the builtin search interface?

Normally in Vim, when you press /, a / appears in the bottom-left (where the command line also would be), and you can type the search pattern there, before pressing enter to submit the search.

If / has been remapped so that it no longer does this, how can I programmatically open this same interface that / normally would?

  • Maybe could you tell us what you want to achieve. Do you want to have access to search in normal mode? Do you want to access search in mappings? Mar 2 at 9:11
  • @VivianDeSmedt I rebound / to :echo hi, now how can I actually open the search interface?
    – minseong
    Mar 2 at 9:37
  • Then the solution I proposed could help you? Did it? Mar 2 at 9:58
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    @VivianDeSmedt It doesn't open the search line, just submits a search itself. I've added a little to my question, I hope that makes it clearer what I mean
    – minseong
    Mar 2 at 10:23

2 Answers 2



I would use another mapping with nnoremap

nnoremap , /

To search foo you could then do: ,fooEnter


You could use feedkeys with mappings turned off:

call feedkeys('/', 'n')


You could use the :normal! command:

To search foo you could do :normal! /fooEnter

Search History

You could also use the search history: q/

To search foo you could do q/ifooEnter

Final remark:

In the :normal mode you can use the :normal! version.

:normal! /foo^M
  • Oh you're right, I hadn't read this properly earlier, sorry. nnoremap works but norm! does not. Would you know how to open search from the command line? For some reason :norm! / does not work.
    – minseong
    Mar 2 at 10:27
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    Do you know why :nmap / <NOP> then :norm! / does not open search?
    – minseong
    Mar 2 at 13:56
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    My understanding of the :normal command is that after the argument an additional <Esc> character is appended. This make that you can use it to search but not to open the search. :norm! / is conceptually equivalent to :call feedkeys("/\<Esc>", 'n') although in my test it is not since :call feedkeys("/\<Esc>", 'n') seems to be the same as :call feedkeys("/\<CR>", 'n') for some reason that I ignore. Mar 2 at 14:19

In addition to the solutions already covered by Vivian, you could also use Ctrl-V/. Hitting Ctrl-V will also suppress mappings on the following key(s). See :help c_CTRL-V for details.

It should be noticed that pressing Ctrl-V will also switch to blockwise visual mode. You would have to cancel out of that after your search.

  • This is the command-line mapping for inserting characters literally into the command line, e.g. ^M (enter) or ^[ (Esc). I don't think it will help to open search.
    – minseong
    Mar 2 at 16:17
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    @minseong have you tried? Because I have and it does - at least in original Vim. Maybe the help section is off. But then :help CTRL-V is about visual mode, hmm.
    – Friedrich
    Mar 2 at 16:20
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    I confirm that it works on both Vim and Neovim. It has one downside that it switch Vim and Neovim to Visual Block mode. Mar 2 at 18:32
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    @VivianDeSmedt you're right. And I hadn't even noticed. It's probably not what anybody would want (unless you want to search for the end of a visual block). I'll edit.
    – Friedrich
    Mar 2 at 18:39

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