TL;DR: Swapping : and , makes key bindings more intuitive and ergonomic. Vim-Aliases step in for <leader> key mappings.


There are

  • people mapping the command-line key : to ; (to ease pinkie pain) and
  • people mapping the <leader> key / to , (to be better reachable).

However, inside a line, we maneuver most efficiently by first looking up a character by f/F (or t/T) and then hemming it in by ;/,.

Because either mapping cripples this, better swap : and , by

nnoremap : ,
nnoremap , :

This way, not only is pinkie pain eased, but also the back-and-forth motions ;/: are consistent with f/F,t/T, (g)n/N and //?, and therefore more intuitive than ;/,.

Then instead of various leader mappings, commonly used for commands such as, say

nnoremap <leader>gc :<c-u>!git commit<cr>

let a command-line alias step in:

Alias gc !git\ commit

This way, the former <leader> key commands are better reachable (by now hitting , to enter command-line) and what’s more: the alias offers more flexibility than its corresponding leader key mapping by letting you add parameters like !git commit -a. Flexibility, which

  • a leader key mapping cannot achieve at all, for example adding the parameters
    !git commit -m 'my commit message'
  • or which even additional leader key mappings
    nnoremap <leader>gc :<c-u>!git commit<cr>
    nnoremap <leader>gca :<c-u>!git commit -a<cr>

can only achieve by side effects: because <leader>gca shadows <leader>gc, it must wait for a timeout to be fired.

Finally, because , and command-line aliases replace the former <leader> key commands, the <leader> key is freed up; for example, for random ad-hoc commands.


For consistency and less pinkie pain, add to nnoremap : , and nnoremap , : the following mappings:

nnoremap : ,
xnoremap : ,
onoremap : ,

nnoremap , :
xnoremap , :
onoremap , :

nnoremap g: g,
nnoremap g, <NOP>

nnoremap @, @:
nnoremap @: <NOP>

" NOTE: Causes lag when 'q' is hit, for example when
" - stopping to record a macro or
" - exiting a buffer by a custom mapping to 'q'.
nnoremap q, q:
xnoremap q, q:

nnoremap q: <NOP>
xnoremap q: <NOP>