I've been using vim for not that long and got stuck with marking when I'm in the insert mode. I do it as follows:

  1. <ESC>v
  2. Mark the text I need
  3. Do something with it
  4. Enter to the insert mode again

Now I think that the approach taken by classical editors (hold CTRL+SHIFT and then press LEFT or RIGHT) is a little bit convenient. Especially if we need to select just one word we just typed (I'm not talking here about compilicated visual blocks). I think so because we don't press <ESC>v.

Maybe there is a simpler way to mark while we are in insert mode?

  • 10
    It allows us to use text objects which are much more flexible and quick then just using <left><left><left><left>. Try <Esc>viw for highlighting the current word and check out :h text-objects for more and better ways to select text.
    – Tumbler41
    Sep 28, 2016 at 18:55

1 Answer 1


If you just want to copy the function "use ctrl-[left/right] to select direction-wise until word bound you can bind

:inoremap <c-left> <esc>vb
:inoremap <c-right> <esc>ve

or <esc>viw to instead visual around the entire word you're currently inside (or right at the end of.)

I use a similar technique in my .vimrc to be able to quickly uppercase my entire last word (e.g. if i wrote max_timeout but wanted MAX_TIMEOUT). My binding for this is :inoremap <c-u> <esc>vawUea. The idea is the same - you bind something(<c-u>) to exit insert mode(<esc>), go into visual(v), do what you need to do(U), and then jump back into insert mode again(ea).

If you're worried about overwriting a predefined binding when you map on something like <c-u> or <c-left>, you can look it up with :help <c-left>.

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