Top Vim commands you should know

Posted by Jeffery Yee | 8:42 AM

Top Vim commands you should know

Vim is a text editor written by Bram Moolenaar and first released publicly in 1991. Based on the vi editor common to Unix-like systems, Vim is designed for use both from a command line interface and as a standalone application in a graphical user interface. Vim is free and open source software and is released under a license that includes some charityware clauses, encouraging users who enjoy the software to consider donating to children in Uganda. The license is compatible with the GNU General Public License.
Although Vim was originally released for the Amiga, Vim has since been developed to be cross-platform, supporting many other platforms. In 2006, it was voted the most popular editor amongst Linux Journal readers.


:e filenameOpen filename for edition
:wSave file
:qExit Vim
Exit withou saving
Write file and quit


/wordSearch word from top to bottom
?wordSearch word from bottom to top
/jo[ha]nSearch john or joan
/\< theSearch the, theatre or then
/the\>Search the or breathe
/\< the\>Search the
/\< ¦.\>Search all words of 4 letters
/\/Search fred but not alfred or frederick
/fred\|joeSearch fred or joe
/\<\d\d\d\d\>Search exactly 4 digits
/^\n\{3}Find 3 empty lines
:bufdo /searchstr/Search in all open files


:%s/old/new/gReplace all occurences of old by new in file
:%s/old/new/gwReplace all occurences with confirmation
:2,35s/old/new/gReplace all occurences between lines 2 and 35
:5,$s/old/new/gReplace all occurences from line 5 to EOF
:%s/^/hello/gReplace the begining of each line by hello
:%s/$/Harry/gReplace the end of each line by Harry
:%s/onward/forward/giReplace onward by forward, case unsensitive
:%s/ *$//gDelete all white spaces
:g/string/dDelete all lines containing string
:v/string/dDelete all lines containing which didn’t contain string
:s/Bill/Steve/Replace the first occurence of Bill by Steve in current line
:s/Bill/Steve/gReplace Bill by Steve in current line
:%s/Bill/Steve/gReplace Bill by Steve in all the file
:%s/\r//gDelete DOS carriage returns (^M)
:%s/\r/\r/gTransform DOS carriage returns in returns
:%s#<[^>]\+>##gDelete HTML tags but keeps text
:%s/^\(.*\)\n\1$/\1/Delete lines which appears twice
Ctrl+aIncrement number under the cursor
Ctrl+xDecrement number under cursor
ggVGg?Change text to Rot13


VuLowercase line
VUUppercase line
g~~Invert case
vEUSwitch word to uppercase
vE~Modify word case
ggguGSet all text to lowercase
:set ignorecaseIgnore case in searches
:set smartcaseIgnore case in searches excepted if an uppercase letter is used
:%s/\<./\u&/gSets first letter of each word to uppercase
:%s/\<./\l&/gSets first letter of each word to lowercase
:%s/.*/\u&Sets first letter of each line to uppercase
:%s/.*/\l&Sets first letter of each line to lowercase

Read/Write files

:1,10 w outfileSaves lines 1 to 10 in outfile
:1,10 w >> outfileAppends lines 1 to 10 to outfile
:r infileInsert the content of infile
:23r infileInsert the content of infile under line 23

File explorer

:e .Open integrated file explorer
:SexSplit window and open integrated file explorer
:browse eGraphical file explorer
:lsList buffers
:cd ..Move to parent directory
:argsList files
:args *.phpOpen file list
:grep expression *.phpReturns a list of .php files contening expression
gfOpen file name under cursor

Interact with Unix

:!pwdExecute the pwd unix command, then returns to Vi
!!pwdExecute the pwd unix command and insert output in file
:shTemporary returns to Unix
$exitRetourns to Vi


:%!fmtAlign all lines
!}fmtAlign all lines at the current position
5!!fmtAlign the next 5 lines


:tabnewCreates a new tab
gtShow next tab
:tabfirstShow first tab
:tablastShow last tab
:tabm n(position)Rearrange tabs
:tabdo %s/foo/bar/gExecute a command in all tabs
:tab ballPuts all open files in tabs

Window spliting

:e filenameEdit filename in current window
:split filenameSplit the window and open filename
ctrl-w up arrowPuts cursor in top window
ctrl-w ctrl-wPuts cursor in next window
ctrl-w_Maximise current window
ctrl-w=Gives the same size to all windows
10 ctrl-w+Add 10 lines to current window
:vsplit fileSplit window vertically
:sview fileSame as :split in readonly mode
:hideClose current window
:­nlyClose all windows, excepted current
:b 2Open #2 in this window

Top Vim commands you should know


Ctrl+n Ctrl+p (in insert mode)Complete word
Ctrl+x Ctrl+lComplete line
:set dictionary=dictDefine dict as a dictionnary
Ctrl+x Ctrl+kComplete with dictionnary


mkMarks current position as k
˜kMoves cursor to mark k
d™kDelete all until mark k


:ab mail mail@example.orgDefine mail as abbreviation of

Text indent

:set autoindentTurn on auto-indent
:set smartindentTurn on intelligent auto-indent
:set shiftwidth=4Defines 4 spaces as indent size
ctrl-t, ctrl-dIndent/un-indent in insert mode

Syntax highlighting

:syntax onTurn on syntax highlighting
:syntax offTurn off syntax highlighting
:set syntax=perlForce syntax highlighting


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