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3 years ago


Neovim utility plugin to define keymaps in concise, readable, cascading lists and trees

  • Modular, maintainable pure Lua way to define keymaps
  • Written in a single file of ~100 lines
  • Supports mapping keys to Lua functions with expr support
  • Allows grouping keymaps the way you think about them concisely


Using packer.nvim

use { 'LionC/nest.nvim' }

Using vim-plug

Plug 'LionC/nest.nvim'

Using dein

call dein#add('LionC/nest.nvim')

Quickstart Guide

The nest Lua module exposes an applyKeymaps function that can be called any number of times with a list of (nested) keymaps to be set.

Keymaps will default to global, normal (n) mode, noremap and silent unless overwritten. Overrides are inherited by nested keymaps.

local nest = require('nest')

nest.applyKeymaps {
    -- Remove silent from ; : mapping, so that : shows up in command mode
    { ';', ':' , options = { silent = false } },
    { ':', ';' },

    -- Prefix  every nested keymap with <leader>
    { '<leader>', {
        -- Prefix every nested keymap with f (meaning actually <leader>f here)
        { 'f', {
            { 'f', '<cmd>Telescope find_files<cr>' },
            -- This will actually map <leader>fl
            { 'l', '<cmd>Telescope live_grep<cr>' },
            -- Prefix every nested keymap with g (meaning actually <leader>fg here)
            { 'g', {
                { 'b', '<cmd>Telescope git_branches<cr>' },
                -- This will actually map <leader>fgc
                { 'c', '<cmd>Telescope git_commits<cr>' },
                { 's', '<cmd>Telescope git_status<cr>' },

        -- Lua functions can be right side values instead of key sequences
        { 'l', {
            { 'c', vim.lsp.buf.code_actions },
            { 'r', vim.lsp.buf.rename },
            { 's', vim.lsp.buf.signature_help },
            { 'h', vim.lsp.buf.hover },

    -- Use insert mode for all nested keymaps
    { mode = 'i', {
        { 'jk', '<Esc>' },

        -- Set <expr> option for all nested keymaps
        { options = { expr = true }, {
            { '<cr>',       'compe#confirm("<CR>")' },
            -- This is equivalent to viml `:inoremap <C-Space> <expr>compe#complete()`
            { '<C-Space>',  'compe#complete()' },

        -- Buffer `true` sets keymaps only for the current buffer
        { '<C-', buffer = true, {
            { 'h>', '<left>' },
            { 'l>', '<right>' },
            -- You can also set bindings for a specific buffer
            { 'o>', '<Esc>o', buffer = 2 },

    -- Keymaps can be defined for multiple modes at once
    { 'H', '^', mode = 'nv' },

The passed table can be understood as a tree, with prefixes and config fields cascading down to all children. This makes it not only very readable and groupable, but also eases refactoring and modularization. Because nest-keymapConfigs are just simple Lua values, they can be defined in their own files, passed around, plugged into different prefixes or options etc.

Advanced Usage

Change defaults

You can change the defaults used by applyKeymaps:

local nest = require('nest')

nest.defaults.options = {
    noremap = false,

Defaults start out as

    mode = 'n',
    prefix = '',
    buffer = false,
    options = {
        noremap = true,
        silent = true,



Expects a keymapConfig, which is a table with at least two indexed properties in one of the following four shapes:


{ 'inputsequence', 'outputsequence' }

Sets a keymap, mapping the input sequence to the output sequence similiar to the VimL :*map commands.

Lua Function Keymap

{ 'inputsequence', someLuaFunction }

Sets a keymap, mapping the input sequence to call the given lua function. Also works when expr is set - just return a string from your function (e.g. '<cmd>echo "Hello"<cr>').

Config Subtree

{ 'inputprefix', keymapConfig }

Append the inputprefix to the current prefix and applies the given keymapConfigs with the new prefix.

Config List

    -- ...

Applies all given keymapConfigs.

Each keymapConfig can also have any of the following fields, which will cascade to all containing sub-keymapConfigs:


Sets the Vim mode(s) for keymaps contained in the keymapConfig.

Accepts a string with each char representing a mode. The modes follow the Vim prefixes (n for normal, i for insert...) except the special character _, which stands for the empty mode (:map ). See :help map-table for a reference.


Determines whether binding are global or local to a buffer:

  • false means global
  • true means current buffer
  • A number means that specific buffer (see :ls for buffer numbering)


Sets mapping options like <buffer>, <silent> etc. for keymaps contained in the keymapConfig.

Note that options gets merged into the options in its context. This means that you only have to pass the options you want to change instead of replacing the whole object.

Accepts all values nvim_set_keymaps options parameter accepts. See :help nvim_set_keymap.


table containing the defaults applied to keymaps. Can be modified or overwritten.

Has the same named fields as keymapConfig, with an additional field:


Sets a string prefix to be applied to all keymap inputs.

Planned Features

See issues and milestones