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created January 2, 2002 · complexity basic · author Robert Ames · version 6.0

In insert mode, pressing Ctrl-W deletes the previous word (:help word). If a non-Vim method is wanted, the following mapping can be used in gvim to allow Ctrl-Backspace to be used instead of Ctrl-W:

" Map Ctrl-Backspace to delete the previous word in insert mode.
imap <C-BS> <C-W>

If the mapping is always wanted, place the above in your vimrc.

By default, Ctrl-W only deletes previous words in the text entered after last starting insert mode, and stops deleting text at the beginning of a line. The 'backspace' option can be set to control what is wanted. For example, the following causes Ctrl-W to always delete the previous word:

:set backspace=indent,eol,start


See also[]


Mapping Ctrl-Backspace does not work in terminal Vim. Following is a workaround.

noremap! <C-BS> <C-w>
noremap! <C-h> <C-w>

There are some issues with <C-w>. For example it considers the insert mode's point of entry as a word boundary. Also, in readline <C-w> usually means to kill the previous WORD. There is a way to make it more readline-ish:

inoremap <C-w> <C-\><C-o>dB
inoremap <C-BS> <C-\><C-o>db