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Using a Vim Clutch

Posted on Wed 18 December 2013 in Tips

I've wanted to try a Vim Clutch for a few years now, but once I got it set up, it turned out to be disapointing.

A Vim Clutch is a foot pedal that toggles between insert mode and normal mode. I set my clutch up a bit differently than the original vim clutch because I wanted the position of my foot to encode the state of vim: up in normal mode and down in insert mode. I mapped the pedal to the middle mouse button and added this to my .vimrc:

nnoremap <MiddleMouse> i
inoremap <MiddleRelease> <Esc>

Once I had that set up, I realized that I rarely use i to get into insert mode. Instead, I use commands like a (append), o (open a new line), cw (change word), ci" (change inside quotation) to enter insert mode. As a result, I rarely found myself using the foot pedal.

I now have a gently used foot pedal that is looking for a purpose in life. A co-worker suggested mapping the foot pedal to Command-Tab to switch between applications. Maybe I will try that.

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Jeff McGee — builder, problem solver, teacher, and general nerd.

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