Simple VIM Reference

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When you first open the VIM editor, you are in the command mode of the editor. The command mode is not an edit mode; it's just for typing commands.

Insertion mode is where you can type text normally. (Like in windows notepad).

To get into insertion mode, type i (abbreviation for insert).
To get into command mode, press the Esc key.

If you're ever not sure which mode you're in, just press the Esc key and you'll be in command mode for sure.

The following commands are executed in command mode.

Copy & Paste

Press v. (To enter visual mode so you can highlight stuff)

Use the arrow keys (or h,j,k,l,w,b,$) to highlight

Press y to yank, p to paste. (shift-p to open up a line above and paste)

Copy a word   yw
Copy a line   yy
Copy from cursor to end of line   y$

Copy & Paste (with Registers)

Press v. (To enter visual mode so you can highlight stuff)

Use the arrow keys (or h,j,k,l,w,b,$) to highlight.

Type "ay to yank into register a. Type "ap to paste from register a.


Press v (To enter visual mode so you can highlight stuff).

Use the arrow keys (or h,j,k,l,w,b,$) keys to highlight and press d

Delete character    x
Delete word    dw
Delete word and insert text cw
Delete line    dd
Delete to end of line    D


Press v and then arrow keys (or h,j,k,l,w,$) to highlight lines of text.

Type > or < to indent right or left.

(to indent more, type 2> or 3>)

(to change your indenting/tabbing to use spaces and not tabs, type :set et)
(to set auto-indenting, type :set ai)
(to set the tab-size, type :set ts=2 (or whatever number you want)
(also, for tabbing-size, set shiftwidth (>) by typing :set sw=2)


Go up    k
Go down    j
Go left    h
Go right    l
Go right a word    w
Go left a word    b
Go to beginning of file    gg
Go to end of file    G
Go 22 lines down    22j
Go to end of line    $
Go to beginning of non-whitespace part of line    ^
Go right 5 words    5w
Go right to nearest "z" character    fz
Go left to nearest "z" character    Fz

Insert Text

Insert at cursor i
Insert after cursor a (useful when at the end of a line)
Open a line below cursor and insert o
Open a line above cursor and insert shift-o

Quitting VIM

Type :q to quit the editor.

Saving a file

Type :w to write to the file.

Search & Replace

Search / (after the slash put whatever you want to find and press the enter key)

Find next    n
Find previous    N

Turn off highlighting (after a search)    :noh

Find next instance of a word that your cursor is over *

Search and replace from current line to end of file :,$s/search/replace/gc (the gc means global and confirm)

Shell (Exit temporarily to a shell)

Type :sh

To come back to VIM from the shell type exit

Split Window Editing

Type :sp followed by the filename.

Go to window above    ctrl-w-k
Go to window below    ctrl-w-j

Maximize window size    ctrl-w _
(the underscore is NOT pressed at the same time as the ctrl-w)

Make all windows equal size    ctrl-w =
(the equals sign is NOT pressed at the same time as the ctrl-w)

Undo a Command

Undo    u
Redo an undo &nbsp  ctrl-r

View Directory & File Explorer

Type :S (the S is uppercase)

This will split the window and open up a file explorer. Use the key to select directories or to open files.


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