Say I entered :e bla/bla/bla.txt and I realize I want to put a ! after the e. Can I get there without using the arrow keys?

2 Answers 2


Command Line Window

You can use cmdline-window to edit the command line the same way as you would any other window. Enter into this window by pressing <c-f> while on the command line or use q: in normal mode.

There is a similar Vimcasts episode on the subject: Refining search patterns with the command-line window

Command line mappings

The command line also has many of its own mappings to help navigate/modify:

  • <c-b>/<home> to go to the beginning (Some people remap this to <c-a> to match emacs/bash/readline)
  • <s-left> or shift + left arrow moves to the left one WORD
  • <c-u> clears the command line completely
  • <c-r>{reg} will put the value of register, {reg} into the line
  • Many more. See Q_ce for a quick review.

For more help see:

:h cmdwin
:h cmdline-editing
  • I didn't know about <c-f>, but I found that using <Esc> followed by q: showed me the unfinished ex mode command in my command line window.
    – Wildcard
    Mar 11, 2016 at 4:09

From :h cmdline:

CTRL-B or <Home>                                c_CTRL-B c_<Home> c_Home
            cursor to beginning of command-line
CTRL-E or <End>                                 c_CTRL-E c_<End> c_End
            cursor to end of command-line

I didn't see any other commands that "jumped" around and didn't use arrow keys. You could do: HomeDel, then type e! (a bit convoluted, I agree).

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