As most people know, Vim descends from Vi which descends from Ex. Vim still has an Ex mode (Q if not using defaults.vim) that allows one to enter Ex commands repeatedly; use :visual to go back to the main Vim interface.

As far as I can tell, Neovim has replaced Q with a visual command for executing registers.

Is there anything that replaces this mode in Neovim?

  • The Ex mode is somehow hidden in Vim (default.vim remap Q to gq). I understand that you would like a more modern version of the Ex mode. It would be helpful to understand what you would like to achieve with the Ex mode or its modernized version. Could you elaborate on that? Commented May 27 at 15:22
  • I couldn't find a better "ex -> vi" reference because the "Interview with Bill Joy" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vi_(text_editor)#cite_note-interview-3) appears to be unreachable for me at the moment.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented May 27 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


The Ex-mode use case listed in the following answer have I believe lost traction over time.

The Ex-mode is even somehow hidden by default in Vim already (the default.vim remap Q to gq).

Neovim developers tends to reduce the backward compatibility for the sake of the maintainability of the software.

I believe very little effort has been spend in Neovim to modernize the Ex-mode.

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