💡 Mappings marked (LSP) require an active language server for the file.

💡 Mappings marked (TS) require a tree-sitter grammar for the file type.

Normal mode

Normal mode is the default mode when you launch helix. You can return to it from other modes by pressing the Escape key.


NOTE: Unlike Vim, f, F, t and T are not confined to the current line.

h, LeftMove leftmove_char_left
j, DownMove downmove_visual_line_down
k, UpMove upmove_visual_line_up
l, RightMove rightmove_char_right
wMove next word startmove_next_word_start
bMove previous word startmove_prev_word_start
eMove next word endmove_next_word_end
WMove next WORD startmove_next_long_word_start
BMove previous WORD startmove_prev_long_word_start
EMove next WORD endmove_next_long_word_end
tFind 'till next charfind_till_char
fFind next charfind_next_char
TFind 'till previous chartill_prev_char
FFind previous charfind_prev_char
GGo to line number <n>goto_line
Alt-.Repeat last motion (f, t, m, [ or ])repeat_last_motion
HomeMove to the start of the linegoto_line_start
EndMove to the end of the linegoto_line_end
Ctrl-b, PageUpMove page uppage_up
Ctrl-f, PageDownMove page downpage_down
Ctrl-uMove cursor and page half page uppage_cursor_half_up
Ctrl-dMove cursor and page half page downpage_cursor_half_down
Ctrl-iJump forward on the jumplistjump_forward
Ctrl-oJump backward on the jumplistjump_backward
Ctrl-sSave the current selection to the jumplistsave_selection


rReplace with a characterreplace
RReplace with yanked textreplace_with_yanked
~Switch case of the selected textswitch_case
`Set the selected text to lower caseswitch_to_lowercase
Alt-`Set the selected text to upper caseswitch_to_uppercase
iInsert before selectioninsert_mode
aInsert after selection (append)append_mode
IInsert at the start of the lineinsert_at_line_start
AInsert at the end of the lineinsert_at_line_end
oOpen new line below selectionopen_below
OOpen new line above selectionopen_above
.Repeat last insertN/A
uUndo changeundo
URedo changeredo
Alt-uMove backward in historyearlier
Alt-UMove forward in historylater
yYank selectionyank
pPaste after selectionpaste_after
PPaste before selectionpaste_before
" <reg>Select a register to yank to or paste fromselect_register
>Indent selectionindent
<Unindent selectionunindent
=Format selection (currently nonfunctional/disabled) (LSP)format_selections
dDelete selectiondelete_selection
Alt-dDelete selection, without yankingdelete_selection_noyank
cChange selection (delete and enter insert mode)change_selection
Alt-cChange selection (delete and enter insert mode, without yanking)change_selection_noyank
Ctrl-aIncrement object (number) under cursorincrement
Ctrl-xDecrement object (number) under cursordecrement
QStart/stop macro recording to the selected register (experimental)record_macro
qPlay back a recorded macro from the selected register (experimental)replay_macro


|Pipe each selection through shell command, replacing with outputshell_pipe
Alt-|Pipe each selection into shell command, ignoring outputshell_pipe_to
!Run shell command, inserting output before each selectionshell_insert_output
Alt-!Run shell command, appending output after each selectionshell_append_output
$Pipe each selection into shell command, keep selections where command returned 0shell_keep_pipe

Selection manipulation

sSelect all regex matches inside selectionsselect_regex
SSplit selection into sub selections on regex matchessplit_selection
Alt-sSplit selection on newlinessplit_selection_on_newline
Alt-minusMerge selectionsmerge_selections
Alt-_Merge consecutive selectionsmerge_consecutive_selections
&Align selection in columnsalign_selections
_Trim whitespace from the selectiontrim_selections
;Collapse selection onto a single cursorcollapse_selection
Alt-;Flip selection cursor and anchorflip_selections
Alt-:Ensures the selection is in forward directionensure_selections_forward
,Keep only the primary selectionkeep_primary_selection
Alt-,Remove the primary selectionremove_primary_selection
CCopy selection onto the next line (Add cursor below)copy_selection_on_next_line
Alt-CCopy selection onto the previous line (Add cursor above)copy_selection_on_prev_line
(Rotate main selection backwardrotate_selections_backward
)Rotate main selection forwardrotate_selections_forward
Alt-(Rotate selection contents backwardrotate_selection_contents_backward
Alt-)Rotate selection contents forwardrotate_selection_contents_forward
%Select entire fileselect_all
xSelect current line, if already selected, extend to next lineextend_line_below
XExtend selection to line bounds (line-wise selection)extend_to_line_bounds
Alt-xShrink selection to line bounds (line-wise selection)shrink_to_line_bounds
JJoin lines inside selectionjoin_selections
Alt-JJoin lines inside selection and select the inserted spacejoin_selections_space
KKeep selections matching the regexkeep_selections
Alt-KRemove selections matching the regexremove_selections
Ctrl-cComment/uncomment the selectionstoggle_comments
Alt-o, Alt-upExpand selection to parent syntax node (TS)expand_selection
Alt-i, Alt-downShrink syntax tree object selection (TS)shrink_selection
Alt-p, Alt-leftSelect previous sibling node in syntax tree (TS)select_prev_sibling
Alt-n, Alt-rightSelect next sibling node in syntax tree (TS)select_next_sibling

Search commands all operate on the / register by default. To use a different register, use "<char>.

/Search for regex patternsearch
?Search for previous patternrsearch
nSelect next search matchsearch_next
NSelect previous search matchsearch_prev
*Use current selection as the search patternsearch_selection

Minor modes

These sub-modes are accessible from normal mode and typically switch back to normal mode after a command.

vEnter select (extend) modeselect_mode
gEnter goto modeN/A
mEnter match modeN/A
:Enter command modecommand_mode
zEnter view modeN/A
ZEnter sticky view modeN/A
Ctrl-wEnter window modeN/A
SpaceEnter space modeN/A

These modes (except command mode) can be configured by remapping keys.

View mode

Accessed by typing z in normal mode.

View mode is intended for scrolling and manipulating the view without changing the selection. The "sticky" variant of this mode (accessed by typing Z in normal mode) is persistent and can be exited using the escape key. This is useful when you're simply looking over text and not actively editing it.

z, cVertically center the linealign_view_center
tAlign the line to the top of the screenalign_view_top
bAlign the line to the bottom of the screenalign_view_bottom
mAlign the line to the middle of the screen (horizontally)align_view_middle
j, downScroll the view downwardsscroll_down
k, upScroll the view upwardsscroll_up
Ctrl-f, PageDownMove page downpage_down
Ctrl-b, PageUpMove page uppage_up
Ctrl-uMove cursor and page half page uppage_cursor_half_up
Ctrl-dMove cursor and page half page downpage_cursor_half_down

Goto mode

Accessed by typing g in normal mode.

Jumps to various locations.

gGo to line number <n> else start of filegoto_file_start
eGo to the end of the filegoto_last_line
fGo to files in the selectionsgoto_file
hGo to the start of the linegoto_line_start
lGo to the end of the linegoto_line_end
sGo to first non-whitespace character of the linegoto_first_nonwhitespace
tGo to the top of the screengoto_window_top
cGo to the middle of the screengoto_window_center
bGo to the bottom of the screengoto_window_bottom
dGo to definition (LSP)goto_definition
yGo to type definition (LSP)goto_type_definition
rGo to references (LSP)goto_reference
iGo to implementation (LSP)goto_implementation
aGo to the last accessed/alternate filegoto_last_accessed_file
mGo to the last modified/alternate filegoto_last_modified_file
nGo to next buffergoto_next_buffer
pGo to previous buffergoto_previous_buffer
.Go to last modification in current filegoto_last_modification
jMove down textual (instead of visual) linemove_line_down
kMove up textual (instead of visual) linemove_line_up
wShow labels at each word and select the word that belongs to the entered labelsgoto_word

Match mode

Accessed by typing m in normal mode.

See the relevant section in Usage for an explanation about surround and textobject usage.

mGoto matching bracket (TS)match_brackets
s <char>Surround current selection with <char>surround_add
r <from><to>Replace surround character <from> with <to>surround_replace
d <char>Delete surround character <char>surround_delete
a <object>Select around textobjectselect_textobject_around
i <object>Select inside textobjectselect_textobject_inner

TODO: Mappings for selecting syntax nodes (a superset of [).

Window mode

Accessed by typing Ctrl-w in normal mode.

This layer is similar to Vim keybindings as Kakoune does not support windows.

w, Ctrl-wSwitch to next windowrotate_view
v, Ctrl-vVertical right splitvsplit
s, Ctrl-sHorizontal bottom splithsplit
fGo to files in the selections in horizontal splitsgoto_file
FGo to files in the selections in vertical splitsgoto_file
h, Ctrl-h, LeftMove to left splitjump_view_left
j, Ctrl-j, DownMove to split belowjump_view_down
k, Ctrl-k, UpMove to split abovejump_view_up
l, Ctrl-l, RightMove to right splitjump_view_right
q, Ctrl-qClose current windowwclose
o, Ctrl-oOnly keep the current window, closing all the otherswonly
HSwap window to the leftswap_view_left
JSwap window downwardsswap_view_down
KSwap window upwardsswap_view_up
LSwap window to the rightswap_view_right

Space mode

Accessed by typing Space in normal mode.

This layer is a kludge of mappings, mostly pickers.

fOpen file pickerfile_picker
FOpen file picker at current working directoryfile_picker_in_current_directory
bOpen buffer pickerbuffer_picker
jOpen jumplist pickerjumplist_picker
gDebug (experimental)N/A
kShow documentation for item under cursor in a popup (LSP)hover
sOpen document symbol picker (LSP)symbol_picker
SOpen workspace symbol picker (LSP)workspace_symbol_picker
dOpen document diagnostics picker (LSP)diagnostics_picker
DOpen workspace diagnostics picker (LSP)workspace_diagnostics_picker
rRename symbol (LSP)rename_symbol
aApply code action (LSP)code_action
hSelect symbol references (LSP)select_references_to_symbol_under_cursor
'Open last fuzzy pickerlast_picker
wEnter window modeN/A
cComment/uncomment selectionstoggle_comments
CBlock comment/uncomment selectionstoggle_block_comments
Alt-cLine comment/uncomment selectionstoggle_line_comments
pPaste system clipboard after selectionspaste_clipboard_after
PPaste system clipboard before selectionspaste_clipboard_before
yYank selections to clipboardyank_to_clipboard
YYank main selection to clipboardyank_main_selection_to_clipboard
RReplace selections by clipboard contentsreplace_selections_with_clipboard
/Global search in workspace folderglobal_search
?Open command palettecommand_palette

💡 Global search displays results in a fuzzy picker, use Space + ' to bring it back up after opening a file.

Displays documentation for item under cursor.

Ctrl-uScroll up
Ctrl-dScroll down


These mappings are in the style of vim-unimpaired.

]dGo to next diagnostic (LSP)goto_next_diag
[dGo to previous diagnostic (LSP)goto_prev_diag
]DGo to last diagnostic in document (LSP)goto_last_diag
[DGo to first diagnostic in document (LSP)goto_first_diag
]fGo to next function (TS)goto_next_function
[fGo to previous function (TS)goto_prev_function
]tGo to next type definition (TS)goto_next_class
[tGo to previous type definition (TS)goto_prev_class
]aGo to next argument/parameter (TS)goto_next_parameter
[aGo to previous argument/parameter (TS)goto_prev_parameter
]cGo to next comment (TS)goto_next_comment
[cGo to previous comment (TS)goto_prev_comment
]TGo to next test (TS)goto_next_test
[TGo to previous test (TS)goto_prev_test
]pGo to next paragraphgoto_next_paragraph
[pGo to previous paragraphgoto_prev_paragraph
]gGo to next changegoto_next_change
[gGo to previous changegoto_prev_change
]GGo to last changegoto_last_change
[GGo to first changegoto_first_change
]SpaceAdd newline belowadd_newline_below
[SpaceAdd newline aboveadd_newline_above

Insert mode

Accessed by typing i in normal mode.

Insert mode bindings are minimal by default. Helix is designed to be a modal editor, and this is reflected in the user experience and internal mechanics. Changes to the text are only saved for undos when escaping from insert mode to normal mode.

💡 New users are strongly encouraged to learn the modal editing paradigm to get the smoothest experience.

EscapeSwitch to normal modenormal_mode
Ctrl-sCommit undo checkpointcommit_undo_checkpoint
Ctrl-rInsert a register contentinsert_register
Ctrl-w, Alt-BackspaceDelete previous worddelete_word_backward
Alt-d, Alt-DeleteDelete next worddelete_word_forward
Ctrl-uDelete to start of linekill_to_line_start
Ctrl-kDelete to end of linekill_to_line_end
Ctrl-h, Backspace, Shift-BackspaceDelete previous chardelete_char_backward
Ctrl-d, DeleteDelete next chardelete_char_forward
Ctrl-j, EnterInsert new lineinsert_newline

These keys are not recommended, but are included for new users less familiar with modal editors.

UpMove to previous linemove_line_up
DownMove to next linemove_line_down
LeftBackward a charmove_char_left
RightForward a charmove_char_right
PageUpMove one page uppage_up
PageDownMove one page downpage_down
HomeMove to line startgoto_line_start
EndMove to line endgoto_line_end_newline

As you become more comfortable with modal editing, you may want to disable some insert mode bindings. You can do this by editing your config.toml file.

up = "no_op"
down = "no_op"
left = "no_op"
right = "no_op"
pageup = "no_op"
pagedown = "no_op"
home = "no_op"
end = "no_op"

Select / extend mode

Accessed by typing v in normal mode.

Select mode echoes Normal mode, but changes any movements to extend selections rather than replace them. Goto motions are also changed to extend, so that vgl, for example, extends the selection to the end of the line.

Search is also affected. By default, n and N will remove the current selection and select the next instance of the search term. Toggling this mode before pressing n or N makes it possible to keep the current selection. Toggling it on and off during your iterative searching allows you to selectively add search terms to your selections.


Keys to use within picker. Remapping currently not supported.

Shift-Tab, Up, Ctrl-pPrevious entry
Tab, Down, Ctrl-nNext entry
PageUp, Ctrl-uPage up
PageDown, Ctrl-dPage down
HomeGo to first entry
EndGo to last entry
EnterOpen selected
Alt-EnterOpen selected in the background without closing the picker
Ctrl-sOpen horizontally
Ctrl-vOpen vertically
Ctrl-tToggle preview
Escape, Ctrl-cClose picker


Keys to use within prompt, Remapping currently not supported.

Escape, Ctrl-cClose prompt
Alt-b, Ctrl-LeftBackward a word
Ctrl-b, LeftBackward a char
Alt-f, Ctrl-RightForward a word
Ctrl-f, RightForward a char
Ctrl-e, EndMove prompt end
Ctrl-a, HomeMove prompt start
Ctrl-w, Alt-Backspace, Ctrl-BackspaceDelete previous word
Alt-d, Alt-Delete, Ctrl-DeleteDelete next word
Ctrl-uDelete to start of line
Ctrl-kDelete to end of line
Backspace, Ctrl-h, Shift-BackspaceDelete previous char
Delete, Ctrl-dDelete next char
Ctrl-sInsert a word under doc cursor, may be changed to Ctrl-r Ctrl-w later
Ctrl-p, UpSelect previous history
Ctrl-n, DownSelect next history
Ctrl-rInsert the content of the register selected by following input char
TabSelect next completion item
BackTabSelect previous completion item
EnterOpen selected