Vim – The keyboard text editor.

Vim is a well elaborated editor for many platforms including Windows, Linux and Mac, with a speciality: You can do all the work in the editor without letting your fingers leave the keyboard.  So you don’t need a mouse for example in order to find, select or replace text or do many other tasks, including complicated ones. This should speed up your text editing considerably.

It does require however that the user gets used to the various commands and knows how to use them quickly and without thinking.  Some practising is therefore needed. All commands can be looked up in the extensive help sections that can be reached by for example typing “:help” or one can spend some time at the extensive Vim Tips wiki pages.

“What Is Vim?

Vim is a highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems.

Vim is often called a “programmer’s editor,” and so useful for programming that many consider it an entire IDE. It’s not just for programmers, though. Vim is perfect for all kinds of text editing, from composing email to editing configuration files.

(…) Vim can be configured to work in a very simple (Notepad-like) way, called evim or Easy Vim.

What Vim Is Not?

Vim isn’t an editor designed to hold its users’ hands. It is a tool, the use of which must be learned.

Vim isn’t a word processor. Although it can display text with various forms of highlighting and formatting, it isn’t there to provide WYSIWYG editing of typeset documents. (It is great for editing TeX, though.)”

Vim uses different modes that are used to perform different groups of actions. For example the “Insert mode” is for typing text and the default “Normal mode” is for all the numerous commands you can use to read, edit and search a text. One can switch to the different modes by pressing a key. Commands are given by typing a letter or a number or combinations of letters and numbers. Besides the usual commands like for example save or close (triggered by typing :w and :q) there are also more complicated commands like “select 5 words from cursor position”, “Replace this line” , “move cursor up” or “find and replace”.

In this way Vim makes it possible to quickly perform all actions directly from your keyboard, and as no space is needed on a menubar these actions can be many.

Besides the normal undo/redo possibilities Vim can also show a document as it was at a certain time interval, both backwards and forward (using the “:earlier” and “:later” commands).

Vim’s features can be furthermore extended with plugins.

GVim Is a graphical Vim version (see screenshot). Vim also runs in Linux in the terminal by typing “vim” <enter>.

Here is a link to a 6kb small text file explaining what Vim is. (It is also available in many other languages)

“Vim’s License

Vim is charityware. Its license is GPL-compatible, so it’s distributed freely, but we ask that if you find it useful you make a donation to help children in Uganda through the ICCF. The full license text can be found in the documentation. More information about charityware on ”

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