Motion Setup: HJKL as amplified hjkl

· Nano Tips for Vim

#motion #keymap

Generally speaking, using shift modifies an existing vim command in some way:

There are only a few exceptions to this rule of thumb, and out of all keys, it is hjkl that violate that rule. While hjkl moves the cursor, their uppercase variants join lines, open man pages, or scroll the screen. Even worse, while hl move on the horizontal axis, HL scrolls on the vertical.1 Especially with hjkl being central vim motions, this has bummed me quite a bit.

So what I do is remap HJKL to make them comply with the rule of amplification, making those four keys move a bigger distance in the same direction than their lowercase counterparts:

1-- HJKL as amplified versions of hjkl
2vim.keymap.set("n", "J", "6j")
3vim.keymap.set("n", "K", "6k")
4vim.keymap.set("n", "H", "0^")
5vim.keymap.set("n", "L", "$")

I have explained my reasoning for why I think 6 is a good count earlier, but in my view, any count or even {/} would work to make J and K more consistent with j and k. (Note that I do map H to 0^ as opposed to ^, as this ensures that you fully scroll to the right, you are on a long line that also has a high indentation.)

Now, what obviously we loose access to the original functions of HJKL. However, this can easily be solved by the scrolloff option and two remappings:

1vim.opt.scrolloff = 15 -- no more need for HML keys
2vim.keymap.set("n", "M", "J") -- mnemonic: [M]erge
3vim.keymap.set("n", "<leader>h", "K") -- mnemonic: [h]over

Using scrolloff essentially combines cursor and scroll movement, making the use of HL to scroll up/down unnecessary. Even more, it also frees up M, which we can use to map the original J to; this works well, since just use a synonym as mnemonic (Join → Merge).

This mapping of HJKL not only is more intuitive, but places the base cursor movements to the resting position of the home row, which makes far more sense than ^ and $ being located far away in the

  1. The use of the vertical axis is probably due to "high-middle-low" being a mnemonic for HML↩︎