I am making a complex mapping that requires me to insert angle brackets (<and >) but I do not know how to escape them so Vim does not interpret them as special key-codes.

It seems like escaping them are not required if you do a simple mapping like:

nnoremap <leader>x yi<pppp

But my mapping looks more like this:

nnoremap <leader>x a<?<<cr>lyi</<<cr>a/<c-r>"><esc>

And I become really confused about all angle brackets. I also think that Vim might become confused.

Is there a way to escape angle brackets when making mappings in Vim?

1 Answer 1


You can do so with <lt> (see :h <lt>) :

nnoremap <leader>x a<lt>CR>

Will enter <CR> literaly, whereas :

nnoremap <leader>x a<CR>

Will execute <CR>

  • Thank you! Seven years later, I was trying to create a mapping to list my custom leader mappings and Vim was expanding <Leader> in the right-hand side of my mapping so it didn't work. Finally put together the right search terms to find this post, and <lt> is the literal I was looking for, I hadn't thought to check for an angle-bracket literal for angle brackets! Jun 13, 2022 at 16:53

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