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Vim logo.

Vim (Vi IMproved) is a text editor based on the standard UNIX editor Vi. Its main feature is modal editing, which minimizes the amount of keystrokes needed for performing tasks, thus greatly reducing strain.

Vim Cheat Sheet for programmers
Vim Cheat Sheet for programmers

Learning Vim

General Advice

  • If you're interested in learning Vim, it is likely for the purpose of programming or markup. In this case, it is recommended to look up online exercises of a language you're familiar with, and write them with Vim.
  • It may be tempting to use the arrow, delete, backspace, home, pageup, pagedown, and end keys, but do not.
  • When performing a task, always think about how to minimize the amount of keystrokes for it. Research online.
  • Keep a cheat sheet, write down new commands you want to learn, keep only several or so commands at a time until you've learned them.

For Beginners


All configuration is kept in the ~/.vimrc file, ~ being your home directory. It is advisable to look up existing online vimrc's but do not just copy them. In Vim, :h each entry, read the description and decide for yourself if you want them.

Well documented base to start out with: https://github.com/timss/vimconf


Buffer Navigation

  • Tagbar - Tag navigation, requires a ctags package.
  • CtrlP - Fuzzy file, buffer, mru, tag, etc finder.
  • Incsearch.vim - futher expands the power of incremental-search in vim
  • EasyMotion - Spatial navigation, saves a lot of keystrokes.
  • targets.vim - adds extra motions to text objects
  • Sneak - maps the s command (and optionally t/T/f/F) to search line-wise (minimalistic alternative to easymotion)

File Navigation

  • CtrlP - Fuzzy file, buffer, mru, tag, etc finder.
  • NERDTree - Tree explorer plugin.
  • VimFiler - similar to built-in netrw but with improvements and fixes

Task Automation

  • EasyAlign - Tool for aligning multiple lines of text in columns.
  • DelimitMate - Auto-completes surroundings and provides bindings for navigating through them.
  • Vim-Surround - Manipulates (insert, change, delete) pairs of surroundings.
  • NERDCommenter - Manipulates code comments according to the file type.
  • AutoComplPop - Basic pop-up keyword-based completion.
  • Emmet - Powerful text-expansion for HTML/XML markup
  • Vim-repeat - expands the .(repeat) power of the command

Code Insertion/Completion

  • UltiSnips - Customizable snippet engine for boilerplate code time-saving.
  • Syntastic - Syntax checking.
  • Neocomplete - code completion engine with caching
  • YouCompleteMe - Advanced semantic code completion engine.
  • Eclim - Code completion making use of Eclipse's engine.


  • Vim-Sensible - Provides a number of common and sane configurations.
  • vim-unimpaired - Miscellaneous mappings for simple tasks
  • SudoEdit - Edit files using sudo or su or any other tool.
  • Multiple Cursors - Sublime Text style multiple selections
  • Minimap - Minimap implementation similar to the one found in Sublime Text


  • AirLine - Status line with many out-of-the-box features and integration with other plugins.
  • LightLine - Status line with emphasis on minimalism and customizability.
  • Vivify - Color scheme editor for Vim

External Links