Say I want to begin letters like this:

Dear world,

What's the simplest way to define a mapping that opens a new line preserving the cursor's horizontal position?

  • And perhaps next you will ask, "And the most correct way?" :)
    – VanLaser
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 0:19
  • Not really a vi/Vim answer, but you may want to learn about vertical tabs. For terminal-specific files they can be handy.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 1:19
  • @Wildcard, what are they?
    – Toothrot
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 1:33
  • See for yourself: printf '%s\v%s\n' hello there (at a command prompt).
    – Wildcard
    Commented Mar 26, 2016 at 1:37

1 Answer 1


An easy way to achieve this using no vimscript is the following:

nnoremap <leader>o yyp^v$r A

This assumes you want to start the mapping in normal mode (otherwise just add <Esc> to the beginning of your insert mode mapping). It copies the current line with yy, pastes it on the line below (p), selects the pasted text in visual mode (^v$), replaces the selection with whitespaces (r followed by a space) and jumps to the end, putting you in insert mode (A).

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