The problem is that I find it very easy to accidentally insert stuff in Vim.

I know I can undo by with U, but it still is quite annoying and frequent. Often, I enter a command like sp file.txt without realizing that I haven't entered the : character yet (so I'm not yet on the command line).

Unfortunately, there are several characters that take you to insert mode, including s, a, i, o.

I'd rather have insert mode mapped to just one keybinding which is very deliberate, like Shift+Space. Can anyone point me to something that might have what I'm looking for?

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    Practice is all you need! – jtbandes Jun 28 '11 at 6:38
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    What you ask is technically possible and quite easy with a bunch of mappings but it also goes against how one is supposed to use Vim. You just need to get into the habit of typing : when necessary. – romainl Jun 28 '11 at 6:50
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    I agree with the other comments. This is a matter of practice, and sadly not much can (or moreover should) be done to fix the bad habit you experience. even if you alter it on your machine you'll only run into the issue the first time you run vim elsewhere. Best bet is to just go slower when learning, or use a cheat sheet of commands and bold the : on each command. – Sirex Jun 28 '11 at 6:59
  • sp 999data.txt - "Vim: I don't want to delete!!!" etc etc. Maybe you should try cream (alternate Vim personality) or just learn to check the cursor position before typing an ex/: command? – RedGrittyBrick Jun 28 '11 at 8:03
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    Have you tried emacs? :-) – Joe Internet Jun 28 '11 at 8:21

Cream - " a modern configuration of the Vim text editor"

A single editing mode. (Cream does not use Vim's modal editing unless turned on from the Preferences menu.)

How can I start command mode for the occasional traditional Vim :command?

Ctrl+L switches to normal mode along with it's alternative Ctrl+\,Ctrl+N.

Ctrl+B switches to normal mode for only a single command.

You can also select Expert Mode from the Settings menu to toggle between Normal and Insert mode with the Esc key.

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