(This question pertains to nvi instead of vim.)

To facilitate editing, I created the following mappings map! ( (?)@^[F?xi map! [ [?]@^[F?xi map! { {?}@^[F?xi so that entering ( will insert (|)@, where | denote the cursor position (in insert mode).

Now, what I want is that when I press <TAB>, the cursor will jump to the @, delete it, and go into insert mode. For this, I created the mapping

map! ^V^I ^[f@xi

But this works only when @ is not the last character in the line. Likewise,

map! ^V^I ^[f@xa

only works when @ is the last character in the line.

The problem is that the position of the cursor after x is different depending on whether the last character was removed.

What would solve this problem is if there is another command α (say) such that α acts as i or a depending the cursor is at the end of the line; as far as I know, no such α exists.

What can I do?

1 Answer 1


Once the cursor is on the @ you can press s to "substitute" the current character. This will delete the current character and leave you in insert mode.

Basically, you could replace all your xi and xa with s:

map! [ [?]@^[F?s
map! { {?}@^[F?s

map! ^V^I ^[f@s
  • Thanks that works perfectly! (I upvoted but it will not show up until I have 15 reputation.)
    – Kevin
    Nov 5, 2015 at 15:22
  • 1
    s is pretty basic. May I suggest you take a look at :viusage?
    – romainl
    Nov 5, 2015 at 16:00
  • Thanks! Most my vi knowledge comes from vim, and in vim I always had s mapped to a surround plugin. I'll take a look at :viusage.
    – Kevin
    Nov 6, 2015 at 9:05

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