Cursor shape

A highly recommended configuration change is to set the cursor to change its shape depending on the currently active mode (Normal/Insert). Vem displays the mode at the beginning of the status line, but changing the shape of the cursor provides a more intuitive feedback.

The changing cursor shape is the default in gvem. However, it is not in vem because it is a feature closely linked to which particular terminal emulator you're using.

In many xtermk-compatible terminals (xterm, urxvt, iTerm2, xfce4-terminal, alacritty, kytty, terminator...) you can set:

" normal mode
let &t_EI = "\e[1 q"

" insert mode
let &t_SI = "\e[5 q"

in your vemrc file to enable this feature. The numbers correspond to the shape that you want to use in each mode:


Blinking block


Blinking block (default)


Steady block


Blinking underline


Steady underline


Blinking bar (xterm)


Steady bar (xterm)

However, you can take a look here for your terminal if this doesn't work for you:

Vim Wiki: Change cursor shape