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In Vim (7.2), there is a normal mode command r to replace a single character with another. For example, typing rX will replace the one character under the cursor with X and then return you to normal mode.

Is there a normal-mode command to insert a single character and then return to normal mode?

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MelBurslan is correct that this feature does not natively exist, but creating a user-defined command is not really the way to go about creating it. I tinkered for a few minutes and came up with this:

:nmap <silent> ,s "=nr2char(getchar())<cr>P

Which uses some Vim trickery involving "putting" text from a register, in this case the "expression" register. The expression being plugged into the register is "nr2char(getchar())" which will return a single character string.

The reason I built the mapping this way is that getting user input "midway through" a mapping is tricky and can behave unpredictably; even this mapping will drop the cursor down to the status area while waiting for the user to type a character.

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As far as I know, there is no such function in any widely distributed incarnation of vi editor but, vim has a facility to create custom commands. It has previously been discussed here: in this thread

You might be able to create your custom command doing what you wish to do.

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Here's the command to map Ctrl-I to insert a single character: ":nmap <C-i> i_<esc>r" – Johnny Apr 11 '13 at 19:40

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