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2 days ago


Leap is a general-purpose motion plugin for Neovim, that unites the strengths and aims of various similar plugins like Sneak (minimalism, speed, convenience), EasyMotion/Hop (scaling well for lots of targets), and Pounce (incremental search + dynamic feedback). It is essentially a streamlined version of Lightspeed, with a focus on simplicity, sane defaults, and maintainability. Leap aims to be a common denominator, its goal being to establish a new standard interface for moving around in the visible editor area in Vim-like editors.

Compared to Lightspeed, Leap

  • is just as efficient in the common case, and almost as efficient generally; all the really important features are there
  • has less complexity and configuration options
  • has a smaller and simpler visual footprint; it feels like using Sneak


Leap is not stable yet - to follow breaking changes, subscribe to the corresponding issue.

Getting started


  • Neovim >= 0.7.0

Leap follows the actual latest nightly release - always update Neovim before submitting issues.


  • For the moment, repeat.vim is required for the dot-repeat functionality to work as intended.


Use your preferred plugin manager. No extra steps needed, besides optionally setting the default keymaps:

lua require('leap').set_default_keymaps()


With Leap you can jump to any positions in the visible window / tab page area by entering a 2-character search pattern, and then optionally a "label" character for choosing among multiple matches, similar to Sneak. The game-changing idea in Leap is its "clairvoyant" ability: it maps possible futures, and shows you which keys you will need to press before you actually need to do that, so despite the use of target labels, you can keep typing in a continuous manner.

Without further ado, let's cut to the chase, and learn by doing. (Permalink to the file, if you want to follow along.)

The search is invoked with s in the forward direction, and S in the backward direction. Let's target some word containing ol. After entering the letter o, the plugin processes all character pairs starting with it, and from here on, you have all the visual information you need to reach your specific target. To reach the unlabeled matches, just finish the pattern, i.e., type the second character. For the others, you also need to type the label character that is displayed right next to the match.

quick example 1

Now type l. If you aimed for the first match (in oldwin->w_frame), you are good to go, just continue the work! (The labels for the subsequent matches of ol remain visible until the next keypress, but they are carefully chosen "safe" letters, guaranteed to not interfere with your following editing command.) If you aimed for some other match, then type the label, for example u, and move on to that.

quick example 2

To show the last important feature, let's go back to the start position, and target the struct member on the line available = oldwin->w_frame->fr_height; near the bottom, using the pattern fr, by first pressing s, and then f:

quick example 3

The blue labels indicate the "secondary" group of matches, where we start to reuse the available labels for a given pair (s, f, n... again). You can reach those by prefixing the label with <space>, that switches to the subsequent match group. For example, to jump to the "blue" j target, you should now press r<space>j. In very rare cases, if the large number of matches cannot be covered even by two label groups, you might need to press <space> multiple times, until you see the target labeled, first with blue, and then, after one more <space>, green.

To summarize, here is the general flow again (in Normal and Visual mode, with the default settings):

s|S char1 char2 <space>? (<space>|<tab>)* label?

That is,

  • invoke in the forward (s) or backward (S) direction
  • enter the first character of the search pattern
    • the "beacons" are lit at this point; all potential matches (char1 + ?) are labeled
  • enter the second character of the search pattern (might short-circuit after this, if there is only one match)
    • certain beacons are extinguished; only char1 + char2 matches remain
    • the cursor automatically jumps to the first match if there are enough "safe" labels; pressing any other key than a group-switch or a target label exits the plugin now
  • optionally cycle through the groups of matches that can be labeled at once
  • choose a labeled target to jump to (in the current group)

Smart autojump

Leap automatically jumps to the first match if the remaining matches can be covered by a limited set of "safe" target labels (keys you would not use right after a jump), but stays in place, and switches to an extended, more comfortable label set otherwise. For details on configuring this behaviour, see :h leap-config.

Resolving conflicts in the first phase

If a directly reachable match covers a label, the match will get a highlight (like in traversal mode), and the label will only be displayed after the second input, that resolves the ambiguity. If a label gets positioned over another label (this might occur before EOL or the window edge, when the labels need to be shifted left), an "empty" label will be displayed until entering the second input.

Operator-pending mode

In Operator-pending mode, there are two different (pairs of) motions available, providing the necessary additional comfort and precision, since in that case we are targeting exact positions, and can only aim once, without the means of easy correction.

z/Z are the equivalents of Normal/Visual s/S, and they follow the semantics of / and ? in terms of cursor placement and inclusive/exclusive operational behaviour, including forced motion types (:h forced-motion).

The mnemonic for X-mode could be extend/exclude (corresponding to x/X). It provides missing variants for the two directions:

ab路路路|                    |路路路ab
鈻堚枅鈻堚枅鈻埪  鈫  Zab    zab  鈫  鈻堚枅鈻堚枅ab
ab鈻堚枅鈻埪  鈫  Xab    xab  鈫  鈻堚枅鈻堚枅鈻堚枅

As you can see from the figure, x goes to the end of the match, including it in the operation, while X stops just before - in an absolute sense, after - the end of the match (the equivalent of T for Leap motions). In simpler terms: in X-mode, the relevant edge of the operated area gets an offset of +2.

Jumping to the last character on a line

A character at the end of a line can be targeted by pressing <space> (special_keys.eol) after it.

Cross-window motions

gs searches in all the other windows on the tab page. In this case, the matches are sorted by their screen distance from the cursor, advancing in concentric circles.

Repeating the search and traversing through the matches

Pressing <enter> (special_keys.repeat_search) after invoking any of Leap's motions searches with the previous input.

After entering at least one input character, <enter> (special_keys.next_match) moves on to the immediate next match (enters traversal mode). Once in traversal mode, <tab> (special_keys.prev_match) can revert the previous jump - that is, it puts the cursor back to its previous position, allowing for an easy correction when you accidentally overshoot your target.

s|S char1 <enter> (<enter>|<tab>)*

s|S char1 char2 <enter>? (<enter>|<tab>)*

Of course, the two can be combined - you can immediately move on after a repeated search:

s|S <enter> <enter>? (<enter>|<tab>)*

Entering traversal mode after the first input is a useful shortcut, especially in operator-pending mode, but it can also be used as a substitute for normal-mode f/t motions. s{char}<enter> is the same as f{char}, but works over multiple lines.

If the safe label set is in use, the labels will remain available during the whole time, even after entering traversal mode.

For cross-window search, traversal mode is not supported.


require('leap').setup {
  case_insensitive = true,
  -- Leaving the appropriate list empty effectively disables "smart" mode,
  -- and forces auto-jump to be on or off.
  safe_labels = { . . . },
  labels = { . . . },
  -- These keys are captured directly by the plugin at runtime.
  special_keys = {
    repeat_search = '<enter>',
    next_match    = '<enter>',
    prev_match    = '<tab>',
    next_group    = '<space>',
    prev_group    = '<tab>',
    eol           = '<space>',

For details, see :h leap-config.


You can set the defaults keymaps (:h leap-default-keymaps) by calling require('leap').set_default_keymaps(). Note that the function will check for conflicts with any custom mappings created by you or other plugins, and will not overwite them, unless explicitly told so (called with a true argument).

To set alternative keymaps, you can use the <Plug> keys listed in :h leap-custom-keymaps.

For further customization you can call the leap function directly. The target-windows argument allows you to pass in a list of window ID-s (:h winid).

-- Searching in all windows (including the current one) on the tab page:
function leap_all_windows()
  require'leap'.leap { ['target-windows'] = vim.api.nvim_tabpage_list_wins(0) }

-- Bidirectional search in the current window is just a specific case of the
-- multi-window mode - set `target-windows` to a table containing the current
-- window as the only element:
function leap_bidirectional()
  require'leap'.leap { ['target-windows'] = {vim.api.nvim_get_current_win()} }

-- Map them to your preferred key, like:
vim.keymap.set('n', 's', leap_all_windows, { silent = true })

User events

Leap triggers User events on entering/exiting (with patterns LeapEnter and LeapLeave), so that you can set up autocommands, e.g. to change the values of some editor options while the plugin is active (:h leap-events).

Highlight groups

For customizing the highlight colors, see :h leap-highlight.

In case you - as a user - are not happy with a certain colorscheme's integration, you could force reloading the default settings by calling leap.init_highlight(true). The call can even be wrapped in an autocommand to automatically re-init on every colorscheme change:

autocmd ColorScheme * lua require('leap').init_highlight(true)

This can be tweaked further, you could e.g. check the actual colorscheme, and only execute for certain ones, etc.