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Neo Vim (VS Code Neovim)

Neovim integration for Visual Studio Code

For those who don't know Neovim is the fork of VIM to allow greater VIM extensibility and embeddability. The extension is using full embedded neovim instance as backend (with the exception of the insert mode and window/buffer/file management), no more half-complete VIM emulation

VSCodeVim has neovim integration but it doesn't use it for anything but ex-commands (e.g. commands like :normal) and relying for own emulated implementation for anything else.

Please report any issues/suggestions to vscode-neovim repository


  • Install vscode-neovim extension
  • Install Neovim Required version 0.5.0 nightly or greater
  • Important!: If you already have big & custom init.vim i'd recommend to wrap existing settings & plugins with if !exists('g:vscode') check to prevent potential breakings and problems. If you have any problems - try with empty init.vim first

Neovim 0.5+ is required. Any version lower than that won't work. Many linux distributions have an old version of neovim in their package repo - always check what version are you installing.

If you get Unable to init vscode-neovim: command 'type' already exists message, try to uninstall other VSCode extensions, which register type command (i.e. VSCodeVim or Overtype).


If you want to use WSL version of neovim, set useWSL configuration toggle and specify linux path to nvim binary. wsl.exe windows binary and wslpath linux binary are required for this. wslpath must be available through $PATH linux env setting. Use wsl --list to check for the correct default linux distribution.


  • Almost fully feature-complete VIM integration by utilizing neovim
  • First-class VSCode insert mode. The plugin unbinds self from the type event in the insert mode, so no typing lag and freezing anymore when long completion popup appears.
  • Fully working VSCode features - autocompletion/go to definition/snippets/multiple cursors/etc...
  • vimrc/vim plugins/etc are supported (few plugins don't make sense with vscode, such as nerdtree)


Neovim 0.5.0-nightly or greater

  • Set neovim path in the extension settings and you're good to go. Important you must specify full path to neovim, like C:\Neovim\bin\nvim.exe or /usr/local/bin/nvim. IMPORTANT 2: the setting id is vscode-neovim.neovimPath
  • Tip: You can install neovim-0.5.0-nightly separately for just vscode, outside of your system's package manager installation


  • Visual modes are not producing real vscode selections (few versions had this feature previously, but it was implemented through ugly & hacky workarounds). Any vscode commands expecting selection won't work. To round the corners, invoking VSCode command picker through the default hotkeys (f1/ctrl/cmd+shift+p) from visual mode converts vim selection to real vscode selection. Also commenting/indenting/formatting works out of the box too. If you're using some custom mapping for calling vscode commands and depends on real vscode selection, you can use VSCodeNotifyRange/VSCodeNotifyRangePos (the first one linewise, the latter characterwise) functions which will convert visual mode selection to vscode selection before calling the command. See this for example and mapping
  • The extension for now works best if editor.scrollBeyondLastLine is disabled.
  • When you type some commands they may be substituted for the another, like :write will be replaced by :Write. This is normal.
  • File/tab/window management (:w/q/etc...) commands are substituted and mapped to vscode actions. If you're using some custom commands/custom mappings to them, you might need to rebind them to call vscode actions instead. See reference links below for examples if you want to use custom keybindings/commands. DO NOT use vim :w, etc... in scripts/keybindings, they won't work.
  • It's better to use spaces instead of tabs for file indent. <C-v> is broken for tab indents
  • On a Mac, the h, j, k and l movement keys may not repeat in visual mode when held, to fix this open Terminal and execute the following command: defaults write ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

VSCode specific features and differences

  • =, == are mapped to editor.action.formatSelection
  • It's possible to call vscode commands from neovim. See VSCodeCall/VSCodeNotify vim functions in vscode-neovim.vim file. VSCodeCall is blocking request, while VSCodeNotify is not (see below)
  • Scrolling is done by VSCode side. <C-d>/<C-u>/etc... are slightly different
  • File management commands such as e / w / q etc are mapped to corresponding vscode commands and behavior may be different (see below)
  • gd/<C-] are mapped to editor.action.revealDefinition (Shortcut F12), also <C-]> works in vim help files
  • gf is mapped to editor.action.revealDeclaration
  • gH is mapped to editor.action.referenceSearch.trigger
  • gD/gF are mapped to editor.action.peekDefinition and editor.action.peekDeclaration respectively (opens in peek)
  • <C-w>gd/<C-w>gf are mapped to editor.action.revealDefinitionAside (original vim command - open new tab and go to the file under cursor, but vscode/vim window/tabs metaphors are completely different, so it's useful to do slightly different thing here)
  • gh is mapped to editor.action.showHover
  • Dot-repeat (.) . Works starting from 0.0.52 version. Moving cursor within a change range won't break the repeat sequence. I.e. in neovim, if you type abc<cursor> in insert mode then move cursor to a<cursor>bc and type 1 here the repeat sequence would be 1. However in vscode it would be a1bc. Another difference that . repeat command when you delete some text only works from right-to-left. I.e. it will treat <Del> key as <BS> keys for dot repeat.
  • Outline navigation doesn't create jumpoints

Performance/Latency problems

If you have any performance problems (cursor jitter usually) make sure you're not using these kinds of extensions:

  • Line number extensions (VSCode has built-in support for normal/relative line numbers)
  • Indent guide extensions (VSCode has built-in indent guides)
  • Brackets highlighter extensions (VSCode has built-in feature)
  • Anything that renders decorators/put something into vscode gutter very often, e.g. on each cursor/line move

Such extension may be fine and work well, but combined with any extension which should control the cursor position (such as any vim extension) it may work very bad, due to shared vscode extension host between all extensions (E.g. one extension is taking the control over the host and blocking the other extension, this produces jitter).

If you're not sure, disable all other extensions except mine, reload vscode/window and see if the problem persist before reporting.

Also there are a reports that some vim settings/vim plugins increase latency and causing performance problems. Make sure you've disabled unneeded plugins. Many of them don't make sense with vscode and may cause any sort of problems. You don't need any code, highlighting, completion, lsp plugins as well any plugins that spawn windows/buffers (nerdtree and similar), fuzzy-finders plugins, etc. You might want to keep navigation/text-objects/text-editing/etc plugins - they should be fine.

Enabling jj or jk as escape keys from the insert mode

Put into your keybindings.json:

for jj

    "command": "vscode-neovim.compositeEscape1",
    "key": "j",
    "when": "neovim.mode == insert && editorTextFocus",
    "args": "j"

to enable jk add also:

    "command": "vscode-neovim.compositeEscape2",
    "key": "k",
    "when": "neovim.mode == insert && editorTextFocus",
    "args": "k"

Determining if running in vscode in your init.vim

This should do the trick:

if exists('g:vscode')
    " VSCode extension
    " ordinary neovim

Invoking vscode actions from neovim

There are few helper functions that could be used to invoke any vscode commands:

  • VSCodeNotify(command, ...)/VSCodeCall(command, ...) - invokes vscode command with optional arguments
  • VSCodeNotifyRange(command, line1, line2, leaveSelection ,...)/VSCodeCallRange(command, line1, line2, leaveSelection, ...) - produces real vscode selection from line1 to line2 and invokes vscode command. Linewise. Put 1 for leaveSelection argument to leave vscode selection after invoking the command
  • VSCodeNotifyRangePos(command, line1, line2, pos1, pos2, leaveSelection ,...)/VSCodeCallRangePos(command, line1, line2, pos1, pos2, leaveSelection, ...) - produces real vscode selection from line1.pos1 to line2.pos2 and invokes vscode command. Characterwise

Functions with Notify in name are non-blocking, the ones with Call are blocking. Generally use Notify unless you really need a blocking call


Produce linewise selection and show vscode commands (default binding)

function! s:showCommands()
    let startLine = line("v")
    let endLine = line(".")
    call VSCodeNotifyRange("workbench.action.showCommands", startLine, endLine, 1)

xnoremap <silent> <C-P> <Cmd>call <SID>showCommands()<CR>

Produce characterwise selection and show vscode commands (default binding):

function! s:showCommands()
    let startPos = getpos("v")
    let endPos = getpos(".")
    call VSCodeNotifyRangePos("workbench.action.showCommands", startPos[1], endPos[1], startPos[2], endPos[2], 1)

xnoremap <silent> <C-P> <Cmd>call <SID>showCommands()<CR>

Run Find in files for word under cursor in vscode:

nnoremap <silent> ? <Cmd>call VSCodeNotify('workbench.action.findInFiles', { 'query': expand('<cword>')})<CR>

Open definition aside (default binding):

nnoremap <silent> <C-w>gd <Cmd>call VSCodeNotify('editor.action.revealDefinitionAside')<CR>


Jumplist lifetime is mapped to vscode's view column lifetime and not persisted between restarts. Also jumplist is not inherited for split/etc... commands. Outline navigation doesn't create jumpoints

Wildmenu completion

Command menu has the wildmenu completion on type. The completion options appear after 1.5s (to not bother you when you write :w or :noh). <Up>/<Down> selects the option and <Tab> accepts it. See the gif:


Multiple cursors

Multiple cursors work in:

  1. Insert mode
  2. (Optional) Visual line mode
  3. (Optional) Visual block mode

To spawn multiple cursors from visual line/block modes type ma/mA or mi/mI (by default). The effect differs:

  • For visual line mode mi will start insert mode on each selected line on the first non whitespace character and ma will on the end of line
  • For visual block mode mi will start insert on each selected line before the cursor block and ma after
  • mA/mI versions account empty lines too (only for visual line mode, for visual block mode they're same as ma/mi)

See gif in action:


Custom keymaps for scrolling/window/tab/etc... management

File/Tab management commands

:e[dit] or ex

  • :e without argument and without bang (!) - opens quickopen window
  • :e! without argument and with bang - opens open file dialog
  • :e [filename] , e.g. :e $MYVIMRC - opens a file in new tab. The file must exist
  • :e! [filename], e.g. :e! $MYVIMRC - closes current file (discard any changes) and opens a file. The file must exist


  • enew Creates new untitled document in vscode
  • enew! closes current file (discard any changes) and creates new untitled document


  • Opens vscode's quick open window. Arguments and count are not supported


  • Without bang (!) saves current file
  • With bang opens 'save as' dialog


  • Opens 'save as' dialog


  • Saves all files. Bang is not doing anything

q[uit] or keys <C-w> q / <C-w> c

  • Closes the active editor


  • Saves and closes the active editor


  • Closes all editors, but doesn't quit vscode. Acts like qall!, so beware for a nonsaved changes


  • Saves all editors & close


  • Similar to e[dit]. Without argument opens quickopen, with argument opens the file in new tab


  • Opens new untitled file


  • Opens quickopen window


  • Not supported. Doesn't make sense with vscode


  • Closes active editor (tab)


  • Closes other tabs in vscode group (pane). This differs from vim where a tab is a like a new window, but doesn't make sense in vscode.

tabn[ext] or key gt

  • Switches to next (or count tabs if argument is given) in the active vscode group (pane)

tabp[revious] or key gT

  • Switches to previous (or count tabs if argument is given) in the active vscode group (pane)


  • Switches to the first tab in the active editor group


  • Switches to the last tab in the active edtior group


  • Not supported yet

Keys ZZ and ZQ are bound to :wq and q! respectively

Buffer/window management commands

Note: split size distribution is controlled by workbench.editor.splitSizing setting. By default it's distribute, which is mapped to vim's equalalways and eadirection = 'both' (default)

sp[lit] or key <C-w> s

  • Split editor horizontally. When argument given opens the specified file in the argument, e.g :sp $MYVIMRC. File must exist

vs[plit] or key <C-w> v

  • Split editor vertically. When argument given opens the specified file in the argument. File must exist

new or key <C-w> n

  • Like sp[lit] but creates new untitled file if no argument given


  • Like vs[plit] but creates new untitled file if no argument given

<C-w> ^

  • Not supported yet


  • Not supported yet

on[ly] or key <C-w> o

  • Without bang (!) Merges all editor groups into the one. Doesn't close editors
  • With bang closes all editors from all groups except current one

<C-w> j/k/h/l

  • Focus group below/above/left/right

<C-w> <C-j>/<C-i>/<C-h>/<C-l>

  • Move editor to group below/above/left/right. Vim doesn't have analogue mappings. Note: <C-w> <C-i> moves editor up. Logically it should be <C-w> <C-k> but vscode has many commands mapped to <C-k> [key] and doesn't allow to use <C-w> <C-k> without unbinding them first

<C-w> r/R/x

  • Not supported use <C-w> <C-j> and similar to move editors

<C-w> w or <C-w> <C-w>

  • Focus next group. The behavior may differ than in vim

<C-w> W or <C-w> p

  • Focus previous group. The behavior may differ than in vim. <C-w> p is completely different than in vim

<C-w> t

  • Focus first editor group (most top-left)

<C-w> b

  • Focus last editor group (most bottom-right)

<C-w> H/K/J/L

  • Not supported yet

<C-w> =

  • Align all editors to have the same width

[count]<C-w> > or [count]<C-w> +

  • Increase editor size by count. Both width & height are increased since in vscode it's not possible to control individual width/height

[count]<C-w> < or [count]<C-w> -

  • Decrease editor size by count. Both width & height are increased since in vscode it's not possible to control individual width/height

<C-w> _

  • Toggle maximized editor size. Pressing again will restore the size

Insert mode special keys

Enabled by useCtrlKeysForInsertMode = true (default true)

Key Desc Status
CTRL-r [0-9a-z"%#*+:.-=] Paste from register Works
CTRL-a Paste previous inserted content Works
CTRL-u Delete all text till begining of line, if empty - delete newline Bound to VSCode key
CTRL-w Delete word left Bound to VSCode key
CTRL-h Delete character left Bound to VSCode key
CTRL-t Indent lines right Bound to VSCode indent line
CTRL-d Indent lines left Bound to VSCode outindent line
CTRL-j Insert line Bound to VSCode insert line after

Other keys are not supported in insert mode

Normal mode control keys

Enabled by useCtrlKeysForNormalMode = true (default true)

Refer to vim manual to get help what they're doing

  • CTRL-a
  • CTRL-b
  • CTRL-c
  • CTRL-d
  • CTRL-e
  • CTRL-f
  • CTRL-i
  • CTRL-o
  • CTRL-r
  • CTRL-u
  • CTRL-v
  • CTRL-w
  • CTRL-x
  • CTRL-y
  • CTRL-]
  • CTRL-j
  • CTRL-k
  • CTRL-l
  • CTRL-h
  • CTRL-/

Other control keys are not being sent (Usually useless with vscode)

Cmdline control keys (always enabled)

  • CTRL-h (delete one character left)
  • CTRL-w (delete word left)
  • CTRL-u (clear line)
  • CTRL-g / CTRL-t (in incsearch mode moves to next/previous result)
  • CTRL-l (add next character under the cursor to incsearch)
  • CTRL-n / CTRL-p (go down/up history)
  • <Up>/<Down> (Select next/prev suggestion) (no way to make up/down to navigate through history, vscode disallows remapping)
  • Tab - Select suggestion

Pass additional keys to neovim or disable existing ctrl keys mappings

To pass additional ctrl key sequence, for example add to your keybindings.json:

    "command": "vscode-neovim.send",
    "key": "ctrl+tab",
    "when": "editorTextFocus && neovim.mode != insert",
    "args": "<C-Tab>"

To disable existing ctrl key sequence, for example Ctrl+A add to your keybindings.json

    "command": "-vscode-neovim.send",
    "key": "ctrl+a"


Speaking honestly, original vim-easymotion works fine and as expected... except one thing: it really replaces your text with markers then restores back. It may work for VIM but for VS Code it leads to broken text and many errors reported while you're jumping. For this reason I created the special vim-easymotion fork which doesn't touch your text and instead use vscode text decorations. Just add my fork to your vim-plug block or by using your favorite vim plugin installer and delete original vim-easymotion. Also overwin motions won't work (obviously) so don't use them. Happy jumping!



You can use vim-commentary if you like it. But vscode already has such functionality so why don't use it? Add to your init.vim/init.nvim

xmap gc  <Plug>VSCodeCommentary
nmap gc  <Plug>VSCodeCommentary
omap gc  <Plug>VSCodeCommentary
nmap gcc <Plug>VSCodeCommentaryLine

Similar to vim-commentary, gcc is comment line (accept count), use gc with motion/in visual mode. VSCodeCommentary is just a simple function which calls editor.action.commentLine

Known Issues

See Issues section

How it works

  • VScode connects to neovim instance
  • When opening a some file, a scratch buffer is created in nvim and being init with text content from vscode
  • Normal/visual mode commands are being sent directly to neovim. The extension listens for buffer events and applies edits from neovim
  • When entering the insert mode, the extensions stops listen for keystroke events and delegates typing mode to vscode (no neovim communication is being performed here)
  • After pressing escape key from the insert mode, extension sends changes obtained from the insert mode to neovim

Credits & External Resources

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