Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm transitioning to vim from another vi-like editor. I keep trying to use my old key combinations but of course vim has different mappings. How can I find out what function is mapped to the key combination I pushed? For example, I might push Ctrl-O and something happens, but I don't understand what it is, and want to learn about it.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

do this:

:help ^o

Where ^o is pressing CTRL-o

share|improve this answer
Typing out :help <C-o> also works, and that format will fork for any command, just type :help <key sequence> – asfallows Apr 17 '12 at 17:35
:help index is also good. It lists all the keys/commands and their functions. – garyjohn Apr 17 '12 at 18:25
I would add that it's very important to read through the page that comes up when you just type ":help" since it introduces the user to the conventions and notations of the actual help documentation. – Heptite Apr 17 '12 at 18:52

You can identify the mapping and its source via the different map commands. For example: :verbose map <C-K>* could output something like this:

v  <C-K>       * :m-2<CR>gv=gv
        Last set from ~/.vimrc
n  <C-K>       * :m-2<CR>==
        Last set from ~/.vimrc

If you have some time to kill have a look at the Vim Tips Wiki on the topic of key mappings. Their tutorial covers all you need.

If you've got Ruby on your machine I can highly recommend the vimdb gem.

share|improve this answer

Maybe vimdb could be something for you. From the project website:

Increase the speed and amount of vim knowledge at your fingertips with precise searching of vim's items: keys (keybindings), options and commands. vimdb is aware of vim's default items, ones in your vimrc and ones in plugins

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.