We have a tag and a tag.

The problem is that the term "visual mode" is overloaded: there's visual mode and there's the :visual command to return from Ex mode to Normal mode.

How shall we resolve this mess?

  • How often do you think the :visual command will be used?
    – muru
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:45
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    And wouldn't the :visual command be visual-command (if it needed a tag at all)?
    – derobert
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:46
  • @muru I doubt that there will be any interesting questions about the :visual command anyway. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:46

2 Answers 2


Use for consistency with , , etc. It'd be weird to have one of the modes named different, and just having a command (that likely won't get questions anyway) with the same name doesn't seem like reason enough. (And, btw, there are :normal and :insert commands, too).

Retag the ones that are . Do not use that tag (after it has no questions for a little bit, the system will delete it).

There is also a Select Mode, see vim's :help select-mode. That mode is different than visual mode, I suggest it be tagged . Again, to keep all mode tags consistent.

I think we should in general strongly favor the names used by Vim itself, and only use our own name when there is a compelling reason (e.g., confusion with other vi-like editors, technical limitations of Stack Exchange software, just plain too long, …)

  • How about visual-select-mode instead? Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:49
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    @200_success vim clearly calls it "visual mode" (see, e.g., :help visual-mode). There is a :normal command as well—and an :insert command. Not sure why :visual is a reason to depart from the name vim uses for this one tag.
    – derobert
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:52
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    @200_success ... actually there is a select mode as well, which is different than visual mode. So I think I'm going to change my answer.
    – derobert
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 8:54
  • Well reasoned. I don't disagree, but I'll explain the sequence of events that led here. visual-mode was the original tag. Some users later introduced visual-select. I was going to canonicalize them all to visual-mode when I realized that the :visual command has a mode-switching effect that is potentially confusing, since it doesn't actually switch into visual mode. (In contrast, :normal does some Normal mode stuff, and :insert inserts text — all very logical.) Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 9:23
  • Actually, "Select mode looks like Visual mode", and you can toggle between visual mode and select mode with Ctrl-G. It's even documented in visual.txt. Clearly, they are closely related to each other. Perhaps they should be covered under an umbrella visual-select-mode tag after all? Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 9:31
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    @200_success sure, they look similar, but behave differently. You can switch between them by using a mode switching command (C-G), but you can switch from normal or insert to select as well. Or from select to insert or normal. Select mode is probably closer to insert mode, actually. At least in terms of the behavior of most keystrokes.
    – derobert
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 9:52
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    How would you tag this questionvisual-mode, select-mode, or both? Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 10:11
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    @200_success that's visual-mode. And of course unix or better would be x11. select-mode is different; the key thing about select mode is that when you type, the selection is replaced with whatever you type. Sort of like how a selection works everywhere except vim.
    – derobert
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 16:44
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    visual-select should be a tag synonym for visual-mode, so that people who try select as a tag for their question will get visual-mode suggested.
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 16:08

The current four questions tagged and three questions tagged are actually all on the same topic. Therefore, we should combine them into one tag. Since "visual mode" has a slight possibility of misinterpretation, let's go with and abolish the tag.

  • If someone would ask me "Hey, I try to do foo in Vim's visual select and it doesn't work", then my first reply would be a slightly confused look, and the question "you mean visual mode?" ... So in other words, I don't think that "visual-select" is very obvious ... Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 9:43

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