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Setting file/exe file of AutoHotkey for Vim emulation.

vim.ahk is the setting file for AutoHotkey(Autohotkey_L).

vim.exe is a standalone application made from vim.ahk (available in the releases page).

This is vim emulation for Windows. If you are interesting in same settings for Mac, try Vim emulation for Karabiner - Software for macOS: Karabiner-Elements complex_modifications rules by rcmdnk.



If you've already installed AutoHotKey, just open vim.ahk with AutoHotkey.

If you are running AutoHotKey with another script, you can include it in your script using AutoHotKey... Please copy vim.ahk and lib directory in \Users\%username%\Documents or where the script is in, and add the following line in AutoHotkey.ahk or your script:

#Include  %A_LineFile%\..\vim.ahk

at the end of the Auto-execute section.


You can also use vim_ahk.exe, which can work standalone w/o AutoHotKey.

To get executable, go to the releases page and download the latest zip file.

Unzip the zip file, and place the extracted vim_ahk folder where you like, then launch vim_ahk.exe.

📝 place vim_ahk_icons folder in the same folder with vim_ahk.exe, otherwise the tray menu icon feature does not work.

Build executable from the source

Clone vim_ahk and go vim_ahk folder, and run build.bat.

  • Double click the file
  • Or run .\build.bat on PowerShell or Command Prompt.

You will find vim_ahk folder which contains vim_ahk.exe and vim_ahk_icons.

Applications (VimGroup)

The default setting enables vim-mode for the following applications:

  • Notepad (メモ帳)
  • Wordpad
  • TeraPad
  • Windows Explorer
  • Thunderbird (only sending window)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Word
  • Evernote
  • Visual Studio Code
  • OneNote
  • TexWork
  • TexStudio
  • Q-dir

You can change them from the right click menu of task tray icon (find VimMenu-Settings in the list), or launch the setting window by Ctrl-Alt-Shift-v.

If you want to change applications directly in the script, add VimGroup variable before Vim := new VimAhk() in vim.ahk (Window title/class can be checked by Window spy of AutoHotkey), or write before including vim.ahk

Example line:

VimGroup := "ahk_exe chrome.exe,ahk_exe firefox.exe"

Multiple applications can be written by comma separated.

Note: This will overwrite the default applications. If you want to add these applications to the default applications, add following applications after your applications:

ahk_exe notepad.exe,ahk_exe explorer.exe,ahk_exe wordpad.exe,ahk_exe TeraPad.exe,作成,Write:,ahk_exe POWERPNT.exe,ahk_exe WINWORD.exe,ahk_exe Evernote.exe,ahk_exe Code.exe,ahk_exe onenote.exe,OneNote,ahk_exe texworks.exe,ahk_exe texstudio.exe

Or you can use GUI option setting menu described below.

The default setting of VimSetTitleMatchMode is 2, which makes matching methods as Contain.

If you set OneNote, all windows with a title containing OneNote (e.g. XXX's OneNote) will be included. If you set VimSetTitleMatchMode as 3, only exact title of OneNote will be included.

Note: It may not work on OneNote. OneNote may has window name like User's Notebook - OneNote, instead of OneNote.

In that case, you need to check OneNote's window title with Window spy.

Window spy will give you about Window Title, Class and Process like:

User's Notebook - OneNote
ahk_class ApplicationFrameWindow
ahk_exe ApplicationFrameHost.exe

If you add any of above lines to VimGroup, vim_ahk works on OneNote. But if you set ahk_class ApplicationFrameWindow or ahk_exe ApplicationFrameHost.exe, vim_ahk also works on other applications which use these Class/Process name (most of applications installed from Microsoft Store).

Examples of applications:

  • Chrome: ahk_exe chrome.exe
  • Firefox: ahk_exe firefox.exe
  • Excel: ahk_exe EXCEL.EXE
  • LibreOffice: ahk_exe soffice.bin (for all LibreOffice applications)


In addition to VimGroup, there are following options which you can set in your script. All of these can be changed from setting menu, too.

Option Description Default
VimEscNormal If 1, short press ESC sets the normal mode, while long press ESC sends ESC. 1
VimSendEscNormal If 1, short press ESC send ESC in the normal mode. 0
VimLongEscNormal If 1, short press and long press of ESC behaviors are swapped. 0
VimCtrlBracketToEsc If 1, Ctrl-[ behaves as ESC.
If VimCtrlBracketNormal is 0, Ctrl-[ sends ESC.
If VimCtrlBracketNormal is 1, long press Ctrl-[ sends ESC.
VimCtrlBracketNormal If 1, pushing Ctrl-[ sets the normal mode, while long press Ctrl-[ sends Ctrl-[. 1
VimSendCtrlBracketNormal If 1, short press Ctrl-[ send Ctrl-[ in the normal mode. 0
VimLongCtrlBracketNormal If 1, short press and long press of Ctrl-[ behaviors are swapped. 0
VimRestoreIME If 1, IME status is restored at entering the insert mode. 1
VimJJ If 1, jj changes the mode to the normal mode from the insert mode. 0
VimTwoLetterEsc A list of character pairs to press together during the insert mode to get to the Normal mode.
For example, a value of jf means pressing j and f at the same time will enter the Normal mode.
Multiple combination can be set by separated by ,. (e.g. jf,jk,sd)
VimDisableUnused Disable level of unused keys in other than the insert mode:
  1. Do not disable unused keys
  2. Disable alphabets (+shift) and symbols
  3. Disable all including keys with modifiers (e.g. Ctrl+Z)
VimSetTitleMatchMode SetTitleMatchMode:
  1. Start with
  2. Contain
  3. Exact match
VimSetTitleMatchModeFS SetTitleMatchMode:
  1. Fast: Text is not detected for such edit control.
  2. Slow: Works for all windows, but slow.
VimIconCheckInterval Interval to check vim_ahk status (ms) and change tray icon (see below picture).
If it is set to 0, the original AHK icon is set and not changed.
VimVerbose Verbose level:
  1. Nothing.
  2. Minimum tooltip (mode information only).
  3. ToolTip (all information).
  4. Debug mode with a message box, which doesn't disappear automatically.
VimGroup Applications on witch vim_ahk is enabled. See Applications section

You can add your options before including vim.ahk in your script in the auto execute section like:

VimVerbose := 2
#Include \path\to\\vim.ahk

If you want to change them directly in the vim.ahk script, add these variable before Vim := new VimAhk().


GUI Option Setting Window

You can change these options from the right click menu of task tray icon (find VimMenu-Settings in the list), or launch the setting window by Ctrl-Alt-Shift-v.



Here, you can add applications, change the mode change key, or change the verbose level.

If you push Reset, default settings will be shown in the window. These settings will be enabled only if you push OK button.

These default settings are overwritten by your VimXXX options in your script described above. (i.e. Reset will restore your options in the script in addition to the default settings of vim_ahk.)

Main Modes

Here are the main modes.

Mode Description
Insert mode Original Windows state
Normal mode As in vim, a cursor is moved by hjkl, w, etc... and some vim like commands are available.
Visual mode There are three visual modes: Character-wise, Line-wise, and Block-wise. Block-wise visual mode is valid only for applications which support block-wise selection (such TeraPad).
Command mode Can be used for saving file/quitting.

The initial state is the insert mode, then ESC or Ctrl-[ brings you to the normal mode.

In the normal mode, i is the key to be back to the insert mode.

v, V and Ctrl-v are the key to the Character-wise, the Line-wise, and the Block-wise visual mode, respectively.

After pressing :, a few commands to save/quit are available.

Available commands in the insert mode

Key/Commands Function
ESC/Ctrl-[ Enter the normal mode. Holding (0.5s) these keys emulate normal ESC/Ctrl-[.
jj Enter the normal mode, if enabled.
Custom two letters If two-letter mapping is set.

ESC/Ctrl-[ switch off IME if IME is on. ESC acts as ESC when IME is on and converting instructions. Ctrl-[ switches off IME and enters the normal mode even if IME is on.

Long press ESC (Ctrl-[) will send these original keys, if VimLongEscNormal (VimLongCtrlBracketNormal is not enabled (0).

If VimLongEscNormal (VimLongCtrlBracketNormal) is enabled, single press will send original keys and long press will change the mode to the normal mode.

If using a custom two-letter hotkey to enter the normal mode, the two letters must be different.

Available commands in the normal mode

Mode Change

Key/Commands Function
i/I/a/A/o/O Enter the insert mode at under the cursor/start of the line/next to the cursor/end of the line/next line/previous line.
v/V/Ctrl-v Enter the visual mode of Character-wise/Line-wise/Block-wise.
: Enter the command line mode


Key/Commands Function
h/j/k/l Left/Down/Up/Right.
0/$ To the start/end of the line.
Ctrl-a/Ctrl-e To the start/end of the line (emacs like).
^ To the starting non-whitespace character of the line.
w/W/e/E Move a word forward (all work the same way: goes to the beginning of the word).
b/B Move a word backward (b/B: the beginning of the word).
Ctrl-u/Ctrl-d Go Up/Down 10 line.
Ctrl-b/Ctrl-f PageUp/PageDown.
gg/G Go to the top/bottom of the file

In addition, Repeat is also available for some commands.

Example Commands Action
4j Down 4 lines
3w Move 3 words forward
100j Down 100 lines


Key/Commands Function
yy, Y Copy the line.
dd Cut the line.
D Cut from here to the end of the line.
cc Change the line (enter the insert mode).
C Cut from here to the end of the line and enter the insert mode.
x/X Delete a character under/before the cursor (not registered in the clipboard).
p/P Paste to the next/current place. If copy/cut was done with the line-wise visual mode, it pastes to the next/current line. Some commands (such yy/dd) also force to paste as line-wise.

y/d/c+Move Command can be used, too.

  • e.g.) yw -> copy next one word.
  • e.g.) d3w -> delete next 3 words.


Key/Commands Function
u/Ctrl-r Undo/Redo.
r/R Replace one character/multiple characters.
J Combine two lines.
. It is fixed to do: Replace a following word with a clipboard (useful to use with a search).
~ Change case.
/ Start search (search box will be opened)
n/N Search next/previous (Some applications support only next search)
* Search the word under the cursor.
ZZ/ZQ Save and Quit/Quit.

Available commands in visual mode

Key/Commands Function
ESC/Ctrl-[ Enter the normal mode.
Move command Most of move commands in the normal mode are available.
y/d/x/c Copy/Cut/Cut/Cut and insert (d=x)
Y/D/X/C Move to the end of line, then Copy/Cut/Cut/Cut and the insert mode (D=X)
* Search the selected word.

Available commands in the command mode

Key/Commands Function
ESC/Ctrl-[ Enter the the normal mode.
w + RETURN Save
w + SPACE Save as
w + q Save and Quit
q Quit
h Open help of the application

Application specific settings


The keybinds refer to ranger which is a console file manager with VI key bindings

Available commands in the normal mode

Key/Commands Function
h/j/k/l Backspace(returns to the parent directory)/Down/Up/Enter(enters the selected directory or opens a file)
Alt+u/i/j/k switch between Quad-Directories
' menu Quick-links

References (Japanese)