Normal Mode

One of the defining features of Neovim is that it is a "modal" editor, meaning that its behavior and features are defined by the current mode. Neovim starts in normal mode, which is the primary mode for navigating documents and running commands, and where users typically spend most of their time.

In normal mode, key-presses don't add text to the editor. Instead, they perform actions, such as moving the cursor, executing commands, or switching buffers, which we will review in the coming sections.

In most cases, when working with other modes one starts in normal mode, switches to another mode to perform a task, then returns to normal mode. The following table lists the most common modes in Neovim, including a brief cheatsheet for how to enter each mode from normal mode. To return to normal mode from the other modes, simply hit Esc.

Mode Short Name Enter Mode
Insert Mode i i
Replace Mode R R
Visual Mode v v
Visual-Line Mode V V
Visual-Block Mode C-V C-V
Command-Line Mode c :
Return to Normal Mode n Esc

For a full list of Neovim modes, :h mode()