So I have an input, something like this:

let dir = input("What is the directory you're looking for? ", "", "dir")

This works great for typing and and getting directory input. But what if the path was really long and I want to run the command again? Normally I would just press for command line recall, however when I do this it simply tries to complete a directory which is not what I want. I want Tab to complete directories, and to do command line recall. Is there any way to get this behavior without defining a custom completion function?

  • Ctrl+x , Ctrl+f completes filenames as well as directories. So, you can map them to tab in normal mode.
    – SibiCoder
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:28
  • 2
    @SibiCoder: yes but not in this case. CTRL-F open the command line window if executed from the command line :h c_CTRL-F
    – nobe4
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


If you simply want to recall the last text given as an argument to input(), you could try the following mapping:

cnoremap <expr> <Up> getcmdtype() ==# '@' ? '<C-E><C-U>' . histget('@') : '<Up>'

Which can be broken down like this:

  • <expr>: type the evaluation of an expression
  • getcmdtype() ==# '@': check whether you are on the input line
  • '<C-E><C-U>' . histget('@'): if the previous test succeeded, hit <C-E><C-U> to clear the input line, then type the last entry from the input history (histget('@'))
  • '<Up>': otherwise, if you are somewhere else (command-line, expression register, search ...), simply hit <Up>

If you want to navigate across all the entries of the input history, you could try the following code:

let s:input_hist_index=0

function! s:InputHistory(dir) abort
    let s:input_hist_index += a:dir
    return "\<C-E>\<C-U>" . histget('@', s:input_hist_index)

cnoremap <expr> <Up> getcmdtype() ==# '@' ? <SID>InputHistory(-1) : '<Up>'
cnoremap <expr> <Down> getcmdtype() ==# '@' ? <SID>InputHistory(1) : '<Down>'

It's similar to the previous mapping, except it must track where you are in the input history, hence the script-local variable s:input_hist_index. There may be another way of doing it, maybe a native function, but I didn't find one in :h history-functions.

You can get more information with the following help topics:

:h <expr>
:h getcmdtype()
:h histget()
:h c_ctrl-e
:h c_ctrl-u 
  • Cool. Yeah, I think this will work. Thanks! Ok, I understand all of this except one thing: Could you tell me what <C-U> does in this context? I assume it's not the scrolling function that I find in :help CTRL-U.
    – Tumbler41
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 18:04
  • 1
    @Tumbler41 <C-U> deletes from the cursor up to the beginning of the line. Without it, whenever you would hit <Up>, the mapping would add a new entry from the input history on the command-line without clearing it first. So <C-U> makes sure the command-line is always cleared before inserting something. You can get this information here: :h c_ctrl-u Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 18:08

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