The vim command-line mode is the mode we enter when typing Ex commands (:), search patterns (/, ?) or filter commands (!). This mode works a little like insert mode, in that whatever we type, is going to appear in the command line. It is not as powerful as the normal mode, but there are a few combinations we can use to move more efficiently:

  • Ctrl+left, Ctrl+right - Using the arrow keys we can move left and right one character at a time. If we press Ctrl together with the left or right keys, we will move one word at a time
  • Ctrl+B, Ctrl+E - Move to the beginning and end of the command line, respectively
  • Ctrl+W - Deletes the word before the cursor (Only deletes characters at the left of the cursor)


There is a key combination (Ctrl+R) that allows us to add some special things in the command line. To use this combination, we just have to type Ctrl+R, followed by one of the following characters:

  • % - Current file name
  • " - Last yanked text
  • * - Clipboard contents
  • / - Last search pattern

There are more combinations (help Cmdline), but these are the ones I find more useful.


If you really hate command line mode, you might want to use cmdline-window to type commands. If you enter command mode (:, /, ?, !) and type Ctrl+F, a new buffer will be opened where you can finish entering your command. In this buffer, you can use all the functionality you are used to from normal mode.

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