I mapped my capslock key to escape but sometimes I accidentally press capslock when I meant to press shift.

Can I remap <Esc>+key to send me back to insert mode and insert the proper character?

For example I would like to press <Esc>+9 and be put back into insert mode and insert the ( character (as if I had just pressed <Shift>+9).


  • 2
    Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure this is not possible. See this answer.
    – Tumbler41
    Aug 26, 2016 at 21:59
  • @Tumbler41 Isn't that about mapping to ctrl rather than <esc>?
    – DJMcMayhem
    Aug 26, 2016 at 22:10
  • 1
    "I mapped my capslock key to escape" -> How did you do this? In Vim or in your operating system? Aug 26, 2016 at 22:27
  • @Carpetsmoker I thought that wasn't possible to do that in Vim and doing it in the OS level was the only way. Have I missed something?
    – statox
    Aug 29, 2016 at 7:16
  • @statox Dunno ... But seems to me that asking to be sure is always a good idea ;-) Aug 29, 2016 at 7:50

1 Answer 1


<Esc> is not a modifier like Shift. There's no <Esc-9> keycode, only <S-9>.

As you usually press Shift before the other key, you could approach this via a set of sequential mappings:

:inoremap <Esc>9 (
:inoremap <Esc>0 )

But that would introduce a noticeable delay when you really just want to leave insert mode.

  • I just tried this (in terminal and gVim), and it only works if I release the Escape key before pressing the 9 key. (If I hold down Escape I only get a 9 inserted.) I'm not clear if that's your intention, or if there's a some setting that affects this behaviour?
    – Rich
    Nov 13, 2017 at 16:27
  • @Rich That's what I meant by "not a modifier". You have to press them sequentially; there's no setting within Vim. Nov 13, 2017 at 19:30
  • The way you've written the second paragraph made me think that you were saying your mapping would work both if the key presses were pressed sequentially (hence, "not a modifier"), but also if the key-presses overlapped, so long as Escape was pressed first. Thanks for clarifying.
    – Rich
    Nov 13, 2017 at 20:38

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