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vim_faq.txt Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated on: 05 September 2018

  VIM FAQ by: Christian Brabandt 

Frequently Asked Questions vim-faq Vim-FAQ

This Vim FAQ is created from the questions and answers posted to the [email protected] user mailing list and the comp.editors newsgroup. There are several ways to solve a problem in Vim. This FAQ gives one of those several possibilities. You can explore the other ways using the information and links given in this FAQ. The credit for the answers in this FAQ goes to Peppe, Benji, Charles Campbell and numerous others. An online version of this FAQ is available at https://vimhelp.appspot.com/vim_faq.txt.html faq-index INDEX ~ faq-general-information SECTION 1 - GENERAL INFORMATION ~ |faq-1.1| What is Vim? |faq-1.2| Who wrote Vim? |faq-1.3| Is Vim compatible with Vi? |faq-1.4| What are some of the improvements of Vim over Vi? |faq-1.5| Is Vim free? faq-resources SECTION 2 - RESOURCES ~ |faq-2.1| Where can I learn more about Vim? |faq-2.2| Is there a mailing list available? |faq-2.3| Is there an archive available for the Vim mailing lists? |faq-2.4| Where can I get the Vim user manual in HTML/PDF/PS format? |faq-2.5| I have a "xyz" (some) problem with Vim. How do I determine if it is a problem with my setup or with Vim? |faq-2.6| Where can I report bugs? |faq-2.7| Where can the FAQ be found? |faq-2.8| What if I don't find an answer in this FAQ? |faq-2.9| I have a patch for implementing a Vim feature. Where do I send the patch? |faq-2.10| I have a Vim tip or developed a new Vim syntax/indent/filetype/compiler plugin or developed a new script or a colorscheme. Is there a public website where I can upload this? faq-availability SECTION 3 - AVAILABILITY ~ |faq-3.1| What is the latest version of Vim? |faq-3.2| Where can I find the latest version of Vim? |faq-3.3| What platforms does it run on? |faq-3.4| Where can I download the latest version of the Vim runtime files? faq-help SECTION 4 - HELP ~ |faq-4.1| How do I use the help files? |faq-4.2| How do I search for a keyword in the Vim help files? |faq-4.3| I am getting an error message E123, what did I do wrong? |faq-4.4| Where can I read about the various modes in Vim? |faq-4.5| How do I generate the Vim help tags file after adding a new Vim help file? |faq-4.6| Can I use compressed versions of the help files? faq-editing-a-file SECTION 5 - EDITING A FILE ~ |faq-5.1| How do I load a file in Vim for editing? |faq-5.2| How do I save the current file in another name (save as) and edit a new file? |faq-5.3| How do I change the current directory to the directory of the current file? |faq-5.4| How do I write a file without the line feed (EOL) at the end of the file? |faq-5.5| How do I configure Vim to open a file at the last edited location? |faq-5.6| When editing a file in Vim, which is being changed by an external application, Vim opens a warning window (like the confirm dialog) each time a change is detected. How do I disable this warning? |faq-5.7| How do I edit a file whose name is under the cursor? |faq-5.8| How do I reload/re-edit the current file? |faq-5.9| How do I autosave a file periodically? |faq-5.10| How do I open a file in read-only mode? |faq-5.11| How do I open a file for editing without saving the modifications to the current file? |faq-5.12| How do I reduce the loading time for very large files in Vim? faq-editing-multiple-files SECTION 6 - EDITING MULTIPLE FILES ~ |faq-6.1| How do I open multiple files at once from within Vim? |faq-6.2| How do I switch between multiple files/buffers in Vim? |faq-6.3| How do I open several files in Vim, with each file in a separate window/tabpage? |faq-6.4| How do I configure Vim to autoload several files at once similar to "work-sets" or "projects"? |faq-6.5| Is it possible to open multiple top level windows in a single instance of Vim similar to Nedit or emacs? |faq-6.6| How do I browse/explore directories from within Vim? |faq-6.7| How do I edit files over a network using ftp/scp/rcp/http? faq-backup SECTION 7 - BACKUP ~ |faq-7.1| When I edit and save files, Vim creates a file with the same name as the original file and a "~" character at the end. How do I stop Vim from creating this file (or) How do I disable the Vim backup file feature? |faq-7.2| When I edit and save files, Vim creates a file with the same name as the original file and a ".un~" extension at the end. How do I stop Vim from creating this file (or) How do I disable the Vim undofile feature. |faq-7.3| How do I configure Vim to store all the backup files in a particular directory? |faq-7.4| When I save a file with Vim, the file permissions are changed. How do I configure Vim to save a file without changing the file permissions? faq-buffers SECTION 8 - BUFFERS ~ |faq-8.1| I have made some modifications to a buffer. How do I edit another buffer without saving the modified buffer and also without losing the modifications? |faq-8.2| How do I configure Vim to auto-save a modified buffer when switching to another buffer? |faq-8.3| How do I replace the buffer in the current window with a blank buffer? |faq-8.4| Is there a keyboard shortcut to load a buffer by the buffer number? |faq-8.5| How do I open all the current buffers in separate windows? |faq-8.6| How do I close (delete) a buffer without exiting Vim? |faq-8.7| When I use the command ":%bd" to delete all the buffers, not all the buffers are deleted. Why? |faq-8.8| How do I display the buffer number of the current buffer/file? |faq-8.9| How do I delete a buffer without closing the window in which the buffer is displayed? |faq-8.10| How do I map the tab key to cycle through and open all the buffers? faq-windows SECTION 9 - WINDOWS ~ |faq-9.1| What is the difference between a Vim window and a buffer? |faq-9.2| How do I increase the width of a Vim window? |faq-9.3| How do I zoom into or out of a window? |faq-9.4| How do I execute an ex command on all the open buffers or open windows or all the files in the argument list? faq-motion SECTION 10 - MOTION ~ |faq-10.1| How do I jump to the beginning (first line) or end (last line) of a file? |faq-10.2| In insert mode, when I press the key to go to command mode, the cursor moves one character to the left (except when the cursor is on the first character of the line). Is it possible to change this behavior to keep the cursor at the same column? |faq-10.3| How do I configure Vim to maintain the horizontal cursor position when scrolling with the , , etc keys? |faq-10.4| Some lines in a file are more than the screen width and they are all wrapped. When I use the j, k keys to move from one line to the next, the cursor is moved to the next line in the file instead of the next line on the screen. How do I move from one screen line to the next? |faq-10.5| What is the definition of a sentence, paragraph and section in Vim? |faq-10.6| How do I jump to beginning or end of a sentence, paragraph or a section? |faq-10.7| I have lines in a file that extends beyond the right extent of the screen. How do I move the Vim view to the right to see the text off the screen? |faq-10.8| How do I scroll two or more buffers simultaneously? |faq-10.9| When I use my arrow keys, Vim changes modes, inserts weird characters in my document but doesn't move the cursor properly. What's going on? |faq-10.10| How do I configure Vim to move the cursor to the end of the previous line, when the left arrow key is pressed and the cursor is currently at the beginning of a line? |faq-10.11| How do I configure Vim to stay only in insert mode (modeless editing)? |faq-10.12| How do I display some context lines when scrolling text? |faq-10.13| How do I go back to previous cursor locations? faq-searching-text SECTION 11 - SEARCHING TEXT ~ |faq-11.1| After I searched for a text with a pattern, all the matched text stays highlighted. How do I turn off the highlighting temporarily/permanently? |faq-11.2| How do I enter a carriage return character in a search pattern? |faq-11.3| How do I search for the character ^M? |faq-11.4| How can I search/replace characters that display as '~R', '~S', etc.? |faq-11.5| How do I highlight all the non-printable characters in a file? |faq-11.6| How do I search for whole words in a file? |faq-11.7| How do I search for the current word under the cursor? |faq-11.8| How do I search for a word without regard to the case (uppercase or lowercase)? |faq-11.9| How do I search for words that occur twice consecutively? |faq-11.10| How do I count the number of times a particular word occurs in a buffer? |faq-11.11| How do I place the cursor at the end of the matched word when searching for a pattern? |faq-11.12| How do I search for an empty line? |faq-11.13| How do I search for a line containing only a single character? |faq-11.14| How do I search and replace a string in multiple files? |faq-11.15| I am using the ":s" substitute command in a mapping. When a search for a pattern fails, the map terminates. I would like the map to continue processing the next command, even if the substitute command fails. How do I do this? |faq-11.16| How do I search for the n-th occurrence of a character in a line? |faq-11.17| How do I replace a tab (or any other character) with a hard return (newline) character? |faq-11.18| How do I search for a character by its ASCII value? |faq-11.19| How do I search for long lines? |faq-11.20| How do I display all the lines in the current buffer that contain a specified pattern? |faq-11.21| How do I search for a text string that spans multiple lines? |faq-11.22| How do I search for a pattern only within a range of lines in a buffer? |faq-11.23| How do I clear the last searched pattern? |faq-11.24| Why does this pattern 'a.{-}p\@!' not match? |faq-11.25| How can I use '/' within a pattern, without escaping it? |faq-11.26| How can I operate on a search match? faq-changing-text SECTION 12 - CHANGING TEXT ~ |faq-12.1| How do I delete all the trailing white space characters (SPACE and TAB) at the end of all the lines in a file? |faq-12.2| How do I replace all the occurrences of multiple consecutive space characters to a single space? |faq-12.3| How do I reduce a range of empty lines into one line only? |faq-12.4| How do I delete all blank lines in a file? How do I remove all the lines containing only space characters? |faq-12.5| How do I copy/yank the current word? |faq-12.6| How do I yank text from one position to another position within a line, without yanking the entire line? |faq-12.7| When I yank some text into a register, how do I append the text to the current contents of the register? |faq-12.8| How do I yank a complete sentence that spans over more than one line? |faq-12.9| How do I yank all the lines containing a pattern into a buffer? |faq-12.10| How do I delete all the lines in a file that do not contain a pattern? |faq-12.11| How do I add a line before each line with "pattern" in it? |faq-12.12| Is there a way to operate on a line if the previous line contains a particular pattern? |faq-12.13| How do I execute a command on all the lines containing a pattern? |faq-12.14| Can I copy the character above the cursor to the current cursor position? |faq-12.15| How do I insert a blank line above/below the current line without entering insert mode? |faq-12.16| How do I insert the name of the current file into the current buffer? |faq-12.17| How do I insert the contents of a Vim register into the current buffer? |faq-12.18| How do I move the cursor past the end of line and insert some characters at some columns after the end of the line? |faq-12.19| How to replace the word under the cursor (say: junk) with "foojunkbar" in Vim? |faq-12.20| How do I replace a particular text in all the files in a directory? |faq-12.21| I have some numbers in a file. How do I increment or decrement the numbers in the file? |faq-12.22| How do I reuse the last used search pattern in a ":substitute" command? |faq-12.23| How do I change the case of a string using the ":substitute" command? |faq-12.24| How do I enter characters that are not present in the keyboard? |faq-12.25| Is there a command to remove any or all digraphs? |faq-12.26| In insert mode, when I press the backspace key, it erases only the characters entered in this instance of insert mode. How do I erase previously entered characters in insert mode using the backspace key? |faq-12.27| I have a file which has lines longer than 72 characters terminated with "+" and wrapped to the next line. How can I quickly join the lines? |faq-12.28| How do I paste characterwise yanked text into separate lines? |faq-12.29| How do I change the case (uppercase, lowercase) of a word or a character or a block of text? |faq-12.30| How do I enter ASCII characters that are not present in the keyboard? |faq-12.31| How do I replace non-printable characters in a file? |faq-12.32| How do I remove duplicate lines from a buffer? |faq-12.33| How do I prefix all the lines in a file with the corresponding line numbers? |faq-12.34| How do I exchange (swap) two characters or words or lines? |faq-12.35| How do I change the characters used as word delimiters? faq-completion-in-insert-mode SECTION 13 - COMPLETION IN INSERT MODE ~ |faq-13.1| How do I complete words or lines in insert mode? |faq-13.2| How do I complete file names in insert mode? |faq-13.3| I am using CTRL-P/CTRL-N to complete words in insert mode. How do I complete words that occur after the just completed word? faq-text-formatting SECTION 14 - TEXT FORMATTING ~ |faq-14.1| How do I format a text paragraph so that a new line is inserted at the end of each wrapped line? |faq-14.2| How do I format long lines in a file so that each line contains less than 'n' characters? |faq-14.3| How do I join short lines to the form a paragraph? |faq-14.4| How do I format bulleted and numbered lists? |faq-14.5| How do I indent lines in insert mode? |faq-14.6| How do I format/indent an entire file? |faq-14.7| How do I increase or decrease the indentation of the current line? |faq-14.8| How do I indent a block/group of lines? |faq-14.9| When I indent lines using the > or < key, the standard 8-tabstops are used instead of the current 'tabstop' setting. Why? |faq-14.10| How do I turn off the automatic indentation of text? |faq-14.11| How do I configure Vim to automatically set the 'textwidth' option to a particular value when I edit mails? |faq-14.12| Is there a way to make Vim auto-magically break lines? |faq-14.13| I am seeing a lot of ^M symbols in my file. I tried setting the 'fileformat' option to 'dos' and then 'unix' and then 'mac'. None of these helped. How can I hide these symbols? |faq-14.14| When I paste some text into a Vim buffer from another application, the alignment (indentation) of the new text is messed up. How do I fix this? |faq-14.15| When there is a very long wrapped line (wrap is "on") and a line doesn't fit entirely on the screen it is not displayed at all. There are blank lines beginning with '@' symbol instead of wrapped line. If I scroll the screen to fit the line the '@' symbols disappear and the line is displayed again. What Vim setting control this behavior? |faq-14.16| How do I convert all the tab characters in a file to space characters? |faq-14.17| What Vim options can I use to edit text that will later go to a word processor? |faq-14.18| How do I join lines without adding or removing any space characters? faq-visual-mode SECTION 15 - VISUAL MODE ~ |faq-15.1| How do I do rectangular block copying? |faq-15.2| How do I delete or change a column of text in a file? |faq-15.3| How do I apply an ex-command on a set of visually selected lines? |faq-15.4| How do I execute an ex command on a column of text selected in Visual block mode? |faq-15.5| How do I select the entire file in visual mode? |faq-15.6| When I visually select a set of lines and press the > key to indent the selected lines, the visual mode ends. How can I reselect the region for further operation? (or) How do I re-select the last selected visual area again? |faq-15.7| How do I jump to the beginning/end of a visually selected region? |faq-15.8| When I select text with mouse and then press : to enter an ex command, the selected text is replaced with the : character. How do I execute an ex command on a text selected using the mouse similar to the text selected using the visual mode? |faq-15.9| When I select a block of text using the mouse, Vim goes into selection mode instead of Visual mode. Why? faq-command-line-mode SECTION 16 - COMMAND-LINE MODE ~ |faq-16.1| How do I use the name of the current file in the command mode or an ex command line? |faq-16.2| How do I edit the text in the Vim command-line effectively? |faq-16.3| How do I switch from Vi mode to Ex mode? |faq-16.4| How do I copy the output from an ex-command into a buffer? |faq-16.5| When I press the tab key to complete the name of a file in the command mode, if there are more than one matching file names, then Vim completes the first matching file name and displays a list of all matching filenames. How do I configure Vim to only display the list of all the matching filenames and not complete the first one? |faq-16.6| How do I copy text from a buffer to the command line and from the command line to a buffer? |faq-16.7| How do I put a command onto the command history without executing it? |faq-16.8| How do I increase the height of the command-line? faq-viminfo SECTION 17 - VIMINFO ~ |faq-17.1| When I invoke Vim, I get error messages about illegal characters in the viminfo file. What should I do to get rid of these messages? |faq-17.2| How do I disable the viminfo feature? |faq-17.3| How do I save and use Vim marks/commands across Vim sessions? faq-remote-editing SECTION 18 - REMOTE EDITING ~ |faq-18.1| How do I open a file with existing instance of gvim? What happened to the Vim 5.x OpenWithVim.exe and SendToVim.exe files? |faq-18.2| How do I send a command to a Vim server to write all buffers to disk? |faq-18.3| Where can I get the documentation about the Vim remote server functionality? faq-options SECTION 19 - OPTIONS ~ |faq-19.1| How do I configure Vim in a simple way? |faq-19.2| How do I toggle the value of an option? |faq-19.3| How do I set an option that affects only the current buffer/window? |faq-19.4| How do I use space characters for a Vim option value? |faq-19.5| Can I add (embed) Vim option settings to the contents of a file? |faq-19.6| How do I display the line numbers of all the lines in a file? |faq-19.7| How do I change the width of the line numbers displayed using the "number" option? |faq-19.8| How do I display (view) all the invisible characters like space, tabs and newlines in a file? |faq-19.9| How do I configure Vim to always display the current line and column number? |faq-19.10| How do I display the current Vim mode? |faq-19.11| How do I configure Vim to show pending/partial commands on the status line? |faq-19.12| How do I configure the Vim status line to display different settings/values? |faq-19.13| How do I configure Vim to display status line always? |faq-19.14| How do I make a Vim setting persistent across different Vim invocations/instances/sessions? |faq-19.15| Why do I hear a beep (why does my window flash) about 1 second after I hit the Escape key? |faq-19.16| How do I make the 'c' and 's' commands display a '$' instead of deleting the characters I'm changing? |faq-19.17| How do I remove more than one flag using a single ":set" command from a Vim option? faq-mapping-keys SECTION 20 - MAPPING KEYS ~ |faq-20.1| How do I know what a key is mapped to? |faq-20.2| How do I list all the user-defined key mappings? |faq-20.3| How do I unmap a key? |faq-20.4| I am not able to create a mapping for the key. What is wrong? |faq-20.5| Why does mapping the key not work? |faq-20.6| How do I map the numeric keypad keys? |faq-20.7| How do I create a mapping that works only in visual mode? |faq-20.8| How do I create a mapping that works only in normal and operator pending mode (but not in visual mode)? |faq-20.9| In a Vim script, how do I know which keys to use for my mappings, so that the mapped key will not collide with an already used key? |faq-20.10| How do I map the escape key? |faq-20.11| How do I map a key to perform nothing? |faq-20.12| I want to use the Tab key to indent a block of text and Shift-Tab key to unindent a block of text. How do I map the keys to do this? This behavior is similar to textpad, visual studio, etc. |faq-20.13| In my mappings the special characters like are not recognized. How can I configure Vim to recognize special characters? |faq-20.14| How do I use the '|' to separate multiple commands in a map? |faq-20.15| If I have a mapping/abbreviation whose ending is the beginning of another mapping/abbreviation, how do I keep the first from expanding into the second one? |faq-20.16| Why does it take a second or more for Vim to process a key, sometimes when I press a key? |faq-20.17| How do I map a key to run an external command using a visually selected text? |faq-20.18| How do I map the Ctrl-I key while still retaining the functionality of the key? |faq-20.19| How do I define a map to accept a count? |faq-20.20| How can I make my normal mode mapping work from within Insert Mode? faq-abbreviations SECTION 21 - ABBREVIATIONS ~ |faq-21.1| How do I auto correct misspelled words? |faq-21.2| How do I create multi-line abbreviations? |faq-21.3| When my abbreviations are expanded, an additional space character is added at the end of the expanded text. How do I avoid this character? |faq-21.4| How do I insert the current date/time stamp into the file? |faq-21.5| How do I prevent an abbreviation from expanding in insert mode? faq-record-and-playback SECTION 22 - RECORD AND PLAYBACK ~ |faq-22.1| How do I repeat an editing operation (insertion, deletion, paste, etc)? |faq-22.2| How I record and repeat a set of key sequences? |faq-22.3| How do I edit/modify a recorded set of key sequences? |faq-22.4| How do I write recorded key sequences to a file? |faq-22.5| I am using register 0 to record my key sequences (i.e. q0 .... q). In the recorded key sequences, I am yanking some text. After the first replay of the recorded key sequence, I am no longer able to play it back. faq-autocommands SECTION 23 - AUTOCOMMANDS ~ |faq-23.1| How do I execute a command when I try to modify a read-only file? |faq-23.2| How do I execute a command every time when entering a buffer? |faq-23.3| How do I execute a command every time when entering a window? |faq-23.4| From an autocmd, how can I determine the name of the file or the buffer number for which the autocommand is executed? |faq-23.5| How do I automatically save all the changed buffers whenever Vim loses focus? |faq-23.6| How do I execute/run a function when Vim exits to do some cleanup? faq-syntax-highlight SECTION 24 - SYNTAX HIGHLIGHT ~ |faq-24.1| How do I turn off/on syntax highlighting? |faq-24.2| How do I change the background and foreground colors used by Vim? |faq-24.3| How do I change the highlight colors to suit a dark/light background? |faq-24.4| How do I change the color of the line numbers displayed when the ":set number" command is used? |faq-24.5| How do I change the background color used for a Visually selected block? |faq-24.6| How do I highlight the special characters (tabs, trailing spaces, end of line, etc) displayed by the 'list' option? |faq-24.7| How do I specify a colorscheme in my .vimrc/.gvimrc file, so that Vim uses the specified colorscheme every time? |faq-24.8| Vim syntax highlighting is broken. When I am editing a file, some parts of the file is not syntax highlighted or syntax highlighted incorrectly. |faq-24.9| Is there a built-in function to syntax-highlight the corresponding matching bracket? |faq-24.10| How do I turn off the C comment syntax highlighting? |faq-24.11| How do I add my own syntax extensions to the standard syntax files supplied with Vim? |faq-24.12| How do I replace a standard syntax file that comes with the Vim distribution with my own syntax file? |faq-24.13| How do I highlight all the characters after a particular column? |faq-24.14| How do I convert a source file (.c, .h, etc) with the Vim syntax highlighting into a HTML file? |faq-24.15| How do I list the definition of all the current highlight groups? |faq-24.16| How can I embed one syntax highlighting language into another one? faq-vim-script-writing SECTION 25 - VIM SCRIPT WRITING ~ |faq-25.1| How do I list the names of all the scripts sourced by Vim? |faq-25.2| How do I debug Vim scripts? |faq-25.3| How do I locate the script/plugin which sets a Vim option? |faq-25.4| I am getting some error/informational messages from Vim (possibly when running a script), the messages are cleared immediately. How do I display the messages again? |faq-25.5| How do I save and restore a plugin specific information across Vim invocations? |faq-25.6| How do I start insert mode from a Vim function? |faq-25.7| How do I change the cursor position from within a Vim function? |faq-25.8| How do I check the value of an environment variable in the .vimrc file? |faq-25.9| How do I check whether an environment variable is set or not from a Vim function? |faq-25.10| How do I call/use the Vim built-in functions? |faq-25.11| I am using some normal mode commands in my Vim script. How do I avoid using the user-defined mappings for these normal mode commands and use the standard Vim functionality for these normal mode commands? |faq-25.12| How do I get a visually selected text into a Vim variable or register? |faq-25.13| I have some text in a Vim variable 'myvar'. I would like to use this variable in a ":s" substitute command to replace a text 'mytext'. How do I do this? |faq-25.14| A Vim variable (bno) contains a buffer number. How do I use this variable to open the corresponding buffer? |faq-25.15| How do I store the value of a Vim option into a Vim variable? |faq-25.16| I have copied and inserted some text into a buffer from a Vim function. How do I indent the inserted text from the Vim function? |faq-25.17| How do I get the character under the cursor from a Vim script? |faq-25.18| How do I get the name of the current file without the extension? |faq-25.19| How do I get the basename of the current file? |faq-25.20| How do I get the output from a Vim function into the current buffer? |faq-25.21| How do I call external programs from a Vim function? |faq-25.22| How do I get the return status of a program executed using the ":!" command? |faq-25.23| How do I determine whether the current buffer is modified or not? |faq-25.24| I would like to use the carriage return character in a normal command from a Vim script. How do I specify the carriage return character? |faq-25.25| How do I split long lines in a Vim script? |faq-25.26| When I try to "execute" my function using the "execute Myfunc()" command, the cursor is moved to the top of the current buffer. Why? |faq-25.27| How do I source/execute the contents of a register? |faq-25.28| After calling a Vim function or a mapping, when I press the 'u' key to undo the last change, Vim undoes all the changes made by the mapping/function. Why? |faq-25.29| How can I call a function defined with s: (script local function) from another script/plugin? |faq-25.30| Is it possible to un-source a sourced script? In other words, reverse all the commands executed by sourcing a script. faq-plugins SECTION 26 - PLUGINS ~ |faq-26.1| How do I set different options for different types of files? |faq-26.2| I have downloaded a Vim plugin or a syntax file or a indent file, or a color scheme or a filetype plugin from the web. Where should I copy these files so that Vim will find them? |faq-26.3| How do I extend an existing filetype plugin? |faq-26.4| How do I turn off loading the Vim plugins? |faq-26.5| How do I turn on/off loading the filetype plugins? |faq-26.6| How do I override settings made in a file type plugin in the global ftplugin directory for all the file types? |faq-26.7| How do I disable the Vim directory browser plugin? |faq-26.8| How do I set the filetype option for files with names matching a particular pattern or depending on the file extension? faq-editing-program-files SECTION 27 - EDITING PROGRAM FILES ~ |faq-27.1| How do I enable automatic indentation for C/C++ files? |faq-27.2| How do I configure the indentation used for C/C++ files? |faq-27.3| How do I turn off the automatic indentation feature? |faq-27.4| How do I change the number of space characters used for the automatic indentation? |faq-27.5| I am editing a C program using Vim. How do I display the definition of a macro or a variable? |faq-27.6| I am editing a C program using Vim. How do I jump to the beginning or end of a code block from within the block? |faq-27.7| When editing C++ files and when inserting new lines above or below a comment (//) line, Vim automatically inserts the C++ comment character (//) at the beginning of the line. How do I disable this? |faq-27.8| How do I add the comment character '#' to a set of lines at the beginning of each line? |faq-27.9| How do I edit a header file with the same name as the corresponding C source file? |faq-27.10| How do I automatically insert comment leaders while typing comments? faq-quickfix SECTION 28 - QUICKFIX ~ |faq-28.1| How do I build programs from Vim? |faq-28.2| When I run the make command in Vim I get the errors listed as the compiler compiles the program. When it finishes this list disappears and I have to use the :clist command to see the error message again. Is there any other way to see these error messages? |faq-28.3| How can I perform a command for each item in the quickfix/location list? faq-folding SECTION 29 - FOLDING ~ |faq-29.1| How do I extend the Vim folding support? |faq-29.2| When I enable folding by setting the 'foldmethod' option, all the folds are closed. How do I prevent this? |faq-29.3| How do I control how many folds will be opened when I start editing a file? |faq-29.4| How do I open and close folds using the mouse? |faq-29.5| How do I change the text displayed for a closed fold? |faq-29.6| How do I store and restore manually created folds across different Vim invocations? |faq-29.7| I have enabled syntax based folding. Why is Vim so slow?

                                    *faq-vim-with-external-applications*

SECTION 30 - VIM WITH EXTERNAL APPLICATIONS ~ |faq-30.1| Can I run a shell inside a Vim window? |faq-30.2| How do I pass the word under the cursor to an external command? |faq-30.3| How do I get the output of a shell command into a Vim buffer? |faq-30.4| How do I pipe the contents of the current buffer to an external command and replace the contents of the buffer with the output from the command? |faq-30.5| How do I sort a section of my file? |faq-30.6| How do I use Vim as a pager? |faq-30.7| How do I view Unix man pages from inside Vim? |faq-30.8| How do I change the diff command used by the Vim diff support? |faq-30.9| How do I use the Vim diff mode without folding? faq-gui-vim SECTION 31 - GUI VIM ~ |faq-31.1| How do I create buffer specific menus? |faq-31.2| How do I change the font used by GUI Vim? |faq-31.3| When starting GUI Vim, how do I specify the location of the GVIM window? |faq-31.4| How do I add a horizontal scrollbar in GVim? |faq-31.5| How do I make the scrollbar appear in the left side by default? |faq-31.6| How do I remove the Vim menubar? |faq-31.7| I am using GUI Vim. When I press the ALT key and a letter, the menu starting with that letter is selected. I don't want this behavior as I want to map the ALT- combination. How do I do this? |faq-31.8| Is it possible to scroll the text by dragging the scrollbar so that the cursor stays in the original location? |faq-31.9| How do I get gvim to start browsing files in a particular directory when using the ":browse" command? |faq-31.10| For some questions, like when a file is changed outside of Vim, Vim displays a GUI dialog box. How do I replace this GUI dialog box with a console dialog box? |faq-31.11| I am trying to use GUI Vim as the editor for my xxx application. When the xxx application launches GUI Vim to edit a file, the control immediately returns to the xxx application. How do I start GUI Vim, so that the control returns to the xxx application only after I quit Vim? |faq-31.12| Why does the "Select Font" dialog doesn't show all the fonts installed in my system? |faq-31.13| How do I use the mouse in Vim command-line mode? |faq-31.14| When I use the middle mouse button to scroll text, it pastes the last copied text. How do I disable this behavior? |faq-31.15| How do I change the location and size of a GUI Vim window? |faq-31.16| When splitting the Vim window vertically, Vim changes the position. faq-vim-on-unix SECTION 32 - VIM ON UNIX ~ |faq-32.1| I am running Vim in a xterm. When I press the CTRL-S key, Vim freezes. What should I do now? |faq-32.2| I am seeing weird screen update problems in Vim. What can I do to solve this screen/display update problems? |faq-32.3| I am using the terminal/console version of Vim. In insertmode, When I press the backspace key, the character before the cursor is not erased. How do I configure Vim to do this? |faq-32.4| I am using Vim in a xterm. When I quit Vim, the screen contents are restored back to the original contents. How do I disable this? |faq-32.5| When I start Vim, it takes quite a few seconds to start. How do I minimize the startup time? |faq-32.6| How can I make the cursor in gvim in unix stop blinking? |faq-32.7| How do I change the menu font on GTK Vim? |faq-32.8| How do I prevent from suspending Vim? |faq-32.9| When I kill the xterm running Vim, the Vim process continues to run and takes up a lot of CPU (99%) time. Why is this happening? |faq-32.10| How do I get the Vim syntax highlighting to work in a Unix terminal? faq-vim-on-ms-windows SECTION 33 - VIM ON MS-WINDOWS ~ |faq-33.1| In MS-Windows, CTRL-V doesn't start the blockwise visual mode. What happened? |faq-33.2| When I press the CTRL-Y key, it acts like the CTRL-R key. How do I configure Vim to treat CTRL-Y as CTRL-Y? |faq-33.3| How do I start GUI Vim in a maximized window always? |faq-33.4| After doing some editing operations, Vim freezes. The cursor becomes an empty rectangle. I am not able enter any characters. What is happening? |faq-33.5| I am using Windows XP, the display speed of maximized GVim is very slow. What can I do to speed the display updates? |faq-33.6| What are the recommended settings for using Vim with cygwin? |faq-33.7| I am trying to use GNU diff with Vim diff mode. When I run the diff from command line, it works. When I try to use the diff with Vim it doesn't work. What should I do now? |faq-33.8| Is it possible to use Vim as an external editor for MS-Windows Outlook email client? |faq-33.9| I am using Vim to edit HTML files. How do I start internet explorer with the current file to preview the HTML file? |faq-33.10| I would like to use Vim with Microsoft Visual Studio. How do I do this? |faq-33.11| Where do I place the vimrc and _gvimrc files? |faq-33.12| Every time I save a file, Vim warns about the file being changed outside of Vim. Why? faq-printing SECTION 34 - PRINTING ~ |faq-34.1| How do I print a file along with line numbers for all the lines? |faq-34.2| How do I print a file with the Vim syntax highlighting colors? faq-building-vim-from-source SECTION 35 - BUILDING VIM FROM SOURCE ~ |faq-35.1| How do I build Vim from the sources on a Unix system? |faq-35.2| How do I install Vim in my home directory or a directory other than the default installation directory in Unix? |faq-35.3| How do I build Vim from the sources on a MS-Windows system? |faq-35.4| The Vim help, syntax, indent files are missing from my Vim installation. How do I install these files? |faq-35.5| I have built Vim from the source and installed the Vim package using "make install". Do I need to keep the Vim source directory? |faq-35.6| How do I determine the Vim features which are enabled at compile time? |faq-35.7| Can I build Vim without the GUI support? |faq-35.8| When building Vim on a Unix system, I am getting "undefined reference to termset_winsize" error. How do I resolve this error? |faq-35.9| Vim configure keeps complaining about the lack of gtk-config while trying to use GTK 2.03. This is correct, since in GTK 2 they moved to using the generic pkg-config. I can get pkg-config to list the various includes and libs for gtk, but for some reason the configure script still isn't picking this up. |faq-35.10| I did successfully download the sources and compiled Vim on Unix. But feature ... still does not work. What is wrong and how can I fix it? faq-various SECTION 36 - VARIOUS ~ |faq-36.1| How do I edit binary files with Vim? |faq-36.2| How do I disable the visual error flash and the error beep? |faq-36.3| How do I display the ascii value of a character displayed in a buffer? |faq-36.4| Can I use zero as a count for a Vim command? |faq-36.5| How do I disable the Vim welcome screen? |faq-36.6| How do I avoid the "hit enter to continue" prompt? |faq-36.7| How do I invoke Vim from command line to run a group of commands on a group of files? |faq-36.8| How do I use a normal mode command from insert mode without leaving the insert mode? |faq-36.9| How do I start Vim in insert mode? |faq-36.10| How do I use Copy and Paste with Vim? |faq-36.11| Why shouldn't I modify the files in the system runtime directory? faq-unicode SECTION 37 - UNICODE ~ |faq-37.1| Is it possible to create Unicode files using Vim? |faq-37.2| Which Vim settings are particularly important for editing Unicode files? |faq-37.3| What is the 'encoding' option? |faq-37.4| How does Vim name the various Unicode encodings? |faq-37.5| How does Vim specify the presence or absence of a byte-order mark? |faq-37.6| What is the 'fileencoding' option? |faq-37.7| What is the 'fileencodings' option? |faq-37.8| What is the 'termencoding' option? |faq-37.9| What is the 'bomb' option? |faq-37.10| Where can I find an example of a typical use of all these options? |faq-37.11| How can I insert Unicode characters into a file using Vim? |faq-37.12| How can I know which digraphs are defined and for which characters?

============================================================================= faq-1 SECTION 1 - GENERAL INFORMATION ~

                            *faq-1.1*

1.1. What is Vim?

Vim stands for Vi IMproved. It used to be Vi IMitation, but there are so many improvements that a name change was appropriate. Vim is a text editor which includes almost all the commands from the Unix program "Vi" and a lot of new ones. All commands can be given with the keyboard. This has the advantage that you can keep your fingers on the keyboard and your eyes on the screen. For those who want it, there is mouse support and a GUI version with scrollbars and menus.

Vim is an editor, not a word processor. A word processor is used mainly to do layout of text. This means positioning it, changing the way it appears on output. More often than not, the final document is meant to be printed or typeset or what have you, in order to present it in a pleasing manner to others. Examples of word processors are Microsoft Word, FrameMaker, and OpenOffice Writer.

An editor is simply for entering text. Any typesetting or laying out of the document is secondary. With an editor, one's main concern is entering text, not making the text look good. Examples of editors other than Vim and Vi are Emacs, TextMate, Ultraedit and gedit. And Notepad.

For more information, read:

|intro|

                        *faq-1.2*

1.2. Who wrote Vim?

Most of Vim is based on Stevie and was written by Bram Moolenaar, with contributions from too many people to mention here.

For more information, read:

|author|
|credits|

                        *faq-1.3*

1.3. Is Vim compatible with Vi?

Yes. Vim is very much compatible with Vi. You can use the "-C" command-line flag to start Vim in Vi compatible mode: >

$ vim -C

< You can also use: >

$ vim -u NONE

< You can also set the 'compatible' option to enable Vi compatibility: >

:set compatible

< If you want to make sure, to start Vim in a 'nocompatible' mode to original Vi, supply the -N command line argument: >

$ vim -N

< For more information, read:

|-C|
|-N|
|'compatible'|
|compatible-default|

                        *faq-1.4*

1.4. What are some of the improvements of Vim over Vi?

A short summary of the improvements of Vim over vi is listed below. The list shows that Vim is a thoroughly modern and feature-packed editor. Standard features of modern editors are implemented, and there is an equal emphasis on general power-user features and features for programmers.

Features to modernise Vi: ~

Multi-level undo ~

 Allows you to set the number of times you can undo your changes in a
 file buffer. You can also redo an undone change.
 Also starting with version 7.3 Vim can permanently store your undo
 information, so that you can undo your changes which you have done
 in a previous editing session.

Tabs, Multiple windows and buffers ~

 Each file can be displayed in its own window. You can move easily from
 one window to another. Each file opened during a Vim session also has
 an associated buffer and you can easily jump from one to the other.
 Also like any modern GUI, Vim supports opening several files in tabs.
 You can do batch processing for tabs, buffers, windows and the
 argumentlist.

Flexible insert mode ~

 Vim allows you to use the arrow keys while in insert mode to move
 around in the file. No more hitting , moving around, then hitting
 `i' or `a'.

Macros ~

 Vim has a facility which allows you to record a sequence of typed
 characters and repeat them any number of times.

Visual mode ~

 You can highlight sections of text and execute operations on this
 section of text only.

Block operators ~

 Allow selection and highlighting of rectangular blocks of text in
 order do execute specific operations on them.

Online help system ~

 You can easily find help on any aspect of using Vim. Help is displayed
 in its own window.

Command-line editing and history ~

 History allows you to use the arrow keys to repeat or search for a
 command that has already been typed. Allows you to match the beginning
 of a command with the beginning of another similar command in the
 history buffer. You can also edit a command to correct typos or change
 a few values.

Command line completion. ~

 Using the  key, you can complete commands, options, filenames,
 etc. as needed.

Horizontal scrolling. ~

 Long lines can be scrolled horizontally (with or without the GUI).

Unicode and internationalization improvements. ~

 Vim is able to edit files in unicode encoding and uses internally an
 utf-8 encoding. Additionally Vim can display text right to left
 oriented.

Advanced user features: ~

Text formatting ~

 With two keystrokes, you can format large sections of text, without
 the use of external programs.

Completion in Insert mode ~

 Vim provides several different possibilities to complete your text.
 For example Vim can complete words while you are typing, by matching
 the current word with other similar words in the file.

Jump tags ~

 Just like in an internet browser, you can jump back to previous parts
 of the text you were editing, and then forward again.  Your brain is
 thus free to edit instead of navigate.

Automatic commands ~

 Commands automatically executed when reading or writing a file,
 jumping to another buffer, etc.

Viminfo ~

 Allows storing of the command line history, marks and registers in a
 file to be read on startup.  Therefore, you can recall old search
 patterns, macros, etc., in a new Vim session.

Mouse support ~

 The mouse is supported in an xterm and for MS-DOS. It can be used to
 position the cursor, select the visual area, paste a register, etc.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) ~

 There are several different graphical user interfaces available.
 Also, it's very easy to add your own menus.  Of course, console vim is
 still supported, and very widely used.

Scripting language ~

 Vim has a powerful scripting language so new commands can be created.
 You can also use Perl, Python, TCL, Lua and Ruby to achieve the same
 thing!

Plugins ~

 Extra functionality implemented via vim commands (regular commands or
 the scripting language) that is automatically loaded on startup.
 Examples: file explorer, network editing, enhanced autocompletion,
 syntax checks.
 More are being developed and shared on VimOnline all the time.

Syntax highlighting for many programming languages ~

 Syntax highlighting (including concealing items) for hundreds of
 programming languages is supported. Support for others can be
 added.

Extended regular expressions ~

 Vim supports extended regular expressions which are similar in
 functionality to that of Perl regular expressions.

Integrated Spell checking ~

 Spell checking has been integrated into Vim.

Diff mode ~

 Vim can highlight the differences between two, three or four files.
 Identical lines will be folded away and hidden.

Encryption using the blowfish algorithm ~

 Vim allows to encrypt your files using the symmetric block cipher
 blowfish as well as the swap file.

Extensive customizable ~

 Vim can be tuned and customized to work like you want by setting
 options. You can define your own commands, macros and even plugins
 to extend its capabilities

Packages ~

 Packages have been added to keep the installation of the growing
 number of plugins manageable. This is a convenient way to get one
 or more plugins, drop them in a directory and keep them updated.
 Vim will load them automatically, or only when desired.

Programming performance features: ~

Edit-compile-edit speedup ~

 You can compile within Vim and automatically jump to the location of
 errors in the source code.

Indenting for many programming languages ~

 C, C++, Java, Perl, XML and many other languages can be automatically
 indented by vim while you type.  Support for others can be added.

Searching for words in include files ~

 Vim allows you to search for a match of the word under the cursor in
 the current and included files.

Advanced text objects ~

 Instantly select, delete, copy, indent, format, change case, or ...
 to all the text between ( and ), or { and }, or < and >, or [ and
 ].  Or a word, sentence, or paragraph.  Very powerful.

Folding ~

 Certain parts of the text can be "folded" away.  The best example is
 the body of a function.  You can get an overview of the code, and then
 open the fold of the function whose detail you need to see.

ctags and cscope integration ~

 Using these two powerful programs, you can jump to a definition of a
 function from a calling instance of it, and use other tricks to
 navigate source code.

Integration of several programming languages ~

 If you find the internal scripting language not powerful enough, you
 can extend Vim using Lua, Ruby, Tcl, Perl and Python 2 and 3.

Asynchronous I/O support ~

 Vim uses jobs and channels to talk to other programs
 asynchronously. This allows to have e.g. a compiler run in the
 background and open the quickfix list as soon as it is finished to
 fix warnings and errors.

Timers ~

 Timers are asynchronous and can fire once or repeatedly to invoke a
 function to do any work.

For more information, read: ~

|vi-differences|

                        *faq-1.5*

1.5. Is Vim free?

Vim is Charityware. There are no restrictions on using or copying Vim, but the author encourages you to make a donation to charity. A document explaining how to do so is included in the distribution.

For more information, read:

|copyright|

============================================================================= faq-2 SECTION 2 - RESOURCES ~

                            *faq-2.1*

2.1. Where can I learn more about Vim?

You can post your Vim questions to the [email protected] mailing list. You can post your Vim development related questions to the [email protected] mailing list. Vim does not have a newsgroup of its own. But the appropriate newsgroup to post to is comp.editors.

"VimOnline" is a web page that serves as a de facto homepage for vim, although the main purpose of it is to gather tips and scripts from everywhere. Get involved! The URL is https://www.vim.org

Finally, read the Vi FAQ:

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/editor-faq/vi/part1/index.html

Finally, there are also some communities, where you can discuss features or ask questions:

https://vi.stackexchange.com
https://vim.reddit.com

For more information, read:

|mail-list|
|internet|

                        *faq-2.2*

2.2. Is there a mailing list available?

There are several:

NAME              DESCRIPTION ~
----------------  --------------------------------------------- ~
vim-announce      Announcements of new releases
vim               General discussion
vim-dev           Patches, bug reports, development discussions
vim-mac           Macintosh discussion
vim-fr            General discussion in French

Of these, only vim and vim-dev are of general interest. vim-announce is read-only to most people, and its messages are sent to the other lists as well. The remaining four are very low volume.

ACTION            EMAIL SEND TO ~
----------------  -------------------------- ~
To subscribe:     [email protected]
To unsubscribe:   [email protected]
To get help:      [email protected]

The available mailing lists are also mentioned here:

https://www.vim.org/maillist.php

                        *faq-2.3*

2.3. Is there an archive available for the Vim mailing lists?

Yes. Visit https://groups.yahoo.com/, where name is one of: vimannounce, vim, vimdev, vim-fr, vim-mac, vim-vms.

Alternatively, visit www.gmane.org to find out about GMANE, which allows you to access the mailing lists as though they were newsgroups. This offers some convenience to those who wish to browse the history or casually observe the current threads.

                            *faq-2.4*

2.4. Where can I get the Vim user manual in HTML/PDF/PS format?

You can download the HTML/PDF/PS format of the Vim user manual from:

https://vimdoc.sourceforge.net/

Note, the user manual from that page is currently pretty outdated. It's best to either use the documentation that comes with vim or use the online version at https://vimhelp.appspot.com

You can find a pdf version of the full English help, including this faq (in letter, A4 and Ipad format) at:

https://nathangrigg.com/vimhelp/

This document is cross-referenced, so you can use the hyperlink functionality.

                            *faq-2.5*

2.5. I have a "xyz" (some) problem with Vim. How do I determine if it is a problem with my setup or with Vim? / Have I found a bug in Vim?

First, you need to find out, whether the error is in the actual runtime files or any plugin that is distributed with Vim or whether it is a simple side effect of any configuration option from your .vimrc or .gvimrc. So first, start vim like this: >

vim -u NONE -U NONE -N -i NONE

< This starts Vim in nocompatible mode (-N), without reading your viminfo file (-i NONE), without reading any configuration file (-u NONE for not reading .vimrc file and -U NONE for not reading a .gvimrc file) or even plugin.

In this invocation, try to reproduce your problem. If the error persists, the chance is good you've found a bug in Vim (see also Question 2.6. |faq-2.6|)

If the error does not occur when starting Vim this way, then the problem is either related to some plugin of yours or some setting in one of your local setup files. You need to find out, what triggers the error, you try starting Vim this way: >

vim -u NONE -U NONE -N

< If the error occurs, the problem is your .viminfo file. Simply delete the viminfo file then. If the error does not occur, try: >

vim -u ~/.vimrc --noplugin -N -i NONE

< This will simply use your .vimrc as configuration file, but not load any plugins. If the error occurs this time, the error is possibly caused by some configuration option inside your .vimrc file. Depending on the length of your vimrc file, it can be quite hard to trace the origin within that file.

The best way is to add :finish command in the middle of your .vimrc. Then restart again using the same command line. If the error still occurs, the bug must be caused because of a setting in the first half of your .vimrc. If it doesn't happen, the problematic setting must be in the second half of your .vimrc. So move the :finish command to the middle of that half, of which you know that triggers the error and move your way along, until you find the problematic option. If your .vimrc is 350 lines long, you need at a maximum 9 tries to find the offending line (in practise, this can often be further reduced, since often lines depend on each other).

If the problem does not occur, when only loading your .vimrc file, the error must be caused by a plugin or another runtime file (indent autoload or syntax script). Check the output of the :scriptnames command to see what files have been loaded and for each one try to disable each one by one and see which one triggers the bug. Often files that are loaded by vim, have a simple configuration variable to disable them, but you need to check inside each file separately.

You can also use the -V command line argument to get more debug information to analyze the problem: >

$ vim -V2logfile

< You can increase the value passed to the -V argument to get more debug information. By also specifying a logfile name, this makes sure, the debug messages don't appear on the screen and won't disturb you when trying to reproduce the problem.

For more information, read:

|-u|
|-U|
|-N|
|-V|
|'verbose'|
|:verbose|
|:set-verbose|

                        *faq-2.6*

2.6. Where can I report bugs?

First collect the required information using the following command: >

:source $VIMRUNTIME/bugreport.vim

< Now send the resulting text from the above command to the [email protected] e-mail address. There is also a public bug tracker available at https://github.com/vim/vim/issues. A copy of each message there will be forwarded to the Vim Development list.

The Vim Development mailing list (see Question 2.2 |faq-2.2|) is a good place to discuss general bugs. If the bug you find is with syntax highlighting, a runtime file, or some other "added feature" (i.e. not directly programmed into vim), attempt to inform the maintainer of that feature. His e-mail address will be mentioned at the top of the corresponding runtime file.

For more information, read:

|bug-reports|

                        *faq-2.7*

2.7. Where can the FAQ be found?

The FAQ can be found at https://vimhelp.appspot.com/vimfaq.txt.html. It will be auto-generated from the source that is managed in the github repository https://www.github.com/chrisbra/vimfaq (Patches are welcome).

The repository also includes the faq in different formats, e.g. manpage, pdf file, html file, plain text version and a version in vim help format.

A slightly older version (which doesn't seem to get updated anymore) can still be found at VimOnline (https://www.vim.org/).

                            *faq-2.8*

2.8. What if I don't find an answer in this FAQ?

This FAQ covers mainly Vim-specific questions. You may find more information suitable for most Vi clones by reading the Vi FAQ. It is posted regularly on comp.editors. You can also find a copy at

http://www.faqs.org/faqs/editor-faq/vi/part1/index.html

Also, since Vim has gathered so many features in the last few years, successfully documenting the frequently asked questions here is a near-impossible task. To make it possible, please email the maintainer if you have a good question. A good question is one that you've tried to answer yourself (remember, Vim has great documentation) but struggled.

                            *faq-2.9*

2.9. I have a patch for implementing a Vim feature. Where can I send this patch?

You can send your patches to the Vim developer mailing list [email protected]

For more information, read:

|vim-dev|

                        *faq-2.10*

2.10. I have a Vim tip or developed a new Vim syntax/indent/filetype/ compiler plugin or developed a new script or a colorscheme. Is there a public website where I can upload this?

Yes. You can use the Vim Online website to upload your plugins/scripts, colorschemes, etc. The site is at https://www.vim.org Nowadays people also seem to share their plugins/runtime files at github.

Tips can also be shared in the Wiki which you can find at

http://vim.wikia.com

============================================================================= faq-3 SECTION 3 - AVAILABILITY ~

                            *faq-3.1*

3.1. What is the latest version of Vim?

The latest version of Vim is 8.2 released on 12th December 2019.

The release history of different versions of Vim is below:

VERSION         RELEASE DATE ~
--------------  -------------------- ~
Version 8.2     12th December, 2019
Version 8.1     17th May, 2018
Version 8.0     12th September, 2016
Version 7.4     10th August, 2013
Version 7.3     15th August, 2010
Version 7.2     9th August, 2008
Version 7.1     12th May, 2007
Version 7.0     8th May, 2006
Version 6.4     15th October, 2005
Version 6.3     8th June, 2004
Version 6.2     1st June, 2003
Version 6.1     24th March, 2002
Version 6.0     27th September, 2001
Version 5.8     31st May, 2001
Version 5.7     24th June, 2000
Version 5.6     16th January, 2000
Version 5.5     21st September, 1999
Version 5.4     26th July, 1999
Version 5.3     31st August, 1998
Version 5.2     24th August, 1998
Version 5.1     7th April, 1998
Version 5.0     19th February, 1998
Version 4.6     13th March, 1997
Version 4.5     17th October, 1996
Version 4.2     5th July, 1996
Version 4.0     29th May, 1996
Version 3.0     12th August, 1994
Version 2.0     21st December, 1993
Version 1.27    23rd April, 1993
Version 1.17    21st April, 1992
Version 1.14    2nd November, 1991

If you are interested in the old release history, check out the vim-history git repository: https://github.com/vim/vim-history and especially for the release history: https://github.com/vim/vim-history#release-history

For more information, read:

|new-8|
|new-7|
|new-6|
|new-5|
|chnaged-8.2|
|changed-8.1|
|changed-7.4|
|changed-7.3|
|changed-7.2|
|changed-7.1|

                        *faq-3.2*

3.2. Where can I find the latest version of Vim?

You can download the sources for the latest version of Vim from the Github repository. The URL for this site is

https://github.com/vim/vim

A mercurial mirror is also available:

https://bitbucket.org/vim-mirror/vim
http://hg.256bit.org/vim/
https://hg.osdn.net/view/vim/vim

Some users keep updated repositories for distributing latest binary versions of Vim. You can find those repositories here:

http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Where_to_download_Vim

                        *faq-3.3*

3.3. What platforms does it run on?

All Unix platforms. All Windows platforms (XP and later). Amiga, Atari, BeOS, Macintosh, MachTen, OS/2, RiscOS, VMS, IBM z/OS.

For MS-DOS support has been removed with the latest releases of Vim. 16-bit DOS: latest supported version 7.1 32-bit DOS: latest supported version 7.3 faq-3.4 3.4. Where can I download the latest version of the Vim runtime files?

You can download the latest version of the Vim runtime files (syntax files, filetype plugins, compiler files, color schemes, documentation, indentation files and keymaps) from the Vim github repository

https://github.com/vim/vim/tree/master/runtime

Another way of downloading the runtime files is this: >

wget https://github.com/vim/vim/archive/master.tar.gz -O- |
tar zfx - vim-master/runtime/ --strip-components=1

< See also:

https://www.vim.org/runtime.php

============================================================================= faq-4 SECTION 4 - HELP ~

                            *faq-4.1*

4.1. How do I use the help files?

Help can be found for all functions of Vim. In order to use it, use the ":help" command. This will bring you to the main help page. On that first page, you will find explanations on how to move around. Basically, you move around in the help pages the same way you would in a read-only document. You can jump to specific subjects by using tags. This can be done in two ways:

  • Use the "" command while standing on the name of a command or option. This only works when the tag is a keyword. "" and "g" work just like "".

  • use the ":tag " command. This works with all characters.

Use "" to jump back to previous positions in the help files. Use ":q" to close the help window.

If you want to jump to a specific subject on the help pages, use ":help {subject}". If you don't know what to look for, try ":help index" to get a list of all available subjects. Use the standard search keys to locate the information you want. You can abbreviate the ":help" command as ":h".

For searching the help, see the next Question 4.2. |faq-4.2|

For more information, read:

|online-help|

                        *faq-4.2*

4.2. How do I search for a keyword in the Vim help files?

a) You can press the CTRL-D key after typing the help keyword to get a list of all the help keywords containing the supplied pattern. You can also use the meta characters like *, +, etc to specify the help search pattern: >

:help init
:help str*()
:help '*indent

< b) You can press the Tab key after typing a partial help keyword to expand to the matching keyword. You can continue to press the Tab key to see other keyword matches.

c) From the help window, you can use the ":tag" command to search for keywords. For example, >

:tselect /window

< This command will list all the help keywords containing the text "window". You can select one from the list and jump to it.

d) You can use the ":helpgrep" command to search for the given text in all the help files. The quickfix window will be opened with all the matching lines.

For more information, read:

|help-summary|
|c_CTRL-D|
|c_|
|:tselect|
|:help|
|:helpgrep|

                        *faq-4.3*

4.3. I am getting an error message E123, what did I do wrong?

You can get more information about the error and the error message using:

|E123|

For more information, read:

|error-messages|

                        *faq-4.4*

4.4. Where can I read about the various modes in Vim?

You can get information about the different modes in Vim by reading

|vim-modes|

                        *faq-4.5*

4.5. How do I generate the Vim help tags file after adding a new Vim help file?

You can use the ":helptags" command to regenerate the Vim help tag file from within Vim. For example: >

:cd $VIMRUNTIME/doc
:helptags .

< To update all "doc" directories in your 'runtimepath', you can use

:helptags ALL

For more information, read:

|:helptags|
|add-local-help|

                        *faq-4.6*

4.6. Can I use compressed versions of the help files?

Yes. You can compress the help files and still be able to view them with Vim. This makes accessing the help files a bit slower and requires the "gzip" utility. Follow these steps to compress and use the Vim help files:

  • Compress all the help files using "gzip doc/*.txt".

  • Edit the "doc/tags" file and change the ".txt" to ".txt.gz" using :%s=(\t.*.txt)\t=\1.gz\t=

  • Add the following line to your vimrc: set helpfile={dirname}/help.txt.gz

Where {dirname} is the directory where the help files are. The gzip.vim plugin supplied with the standard Vim distribution will take care of decompressing the files. You must make sure that $VIMRUNTIME is set to where the other Vim files are, when they are not in the same location as the compressed "doc" directory.

Note, that the :helpgrep command does not work with compressed help pages.

For more information, read:

|gzip-helpfile|
|'helpfile'|
|gzip|
|$VIMRUNTIME|

============================================================================= faq-5 SECTION 5 - EDITING A FILE ~

                            *faq-5.1*

5.1. How do I load a file in Vim for editing?

There are several ways to load a file for editing. The simplest is to use the ":e" (:edit) command: >

:e 

< You can also use the ":n" (:next) command to load files into Vim: >

:n 

< You can also use the ":args" command to load files into Vim: >

:args 

< For more information, read:

|usr_07.txt|
|edit-files|
|:edit|
|:next_f|
|:args_f|

                        *faq-5.2*

5.2. How do I save the current file in another name (save as) and edit a new file?

You can use the ":saveas" command to save the current file in another name: >

:saveas 

< Alternatively, you can also use the following commands: >

:w 
:edit #

< You can also use the ":file" command, followed by ":w" command: >

:file 
:w

< For more information, read:

|07.7|
|:saveas|
|:file_f|
|:w|

                        *faq-5.3*

5.3. How do I change the current directory to the directory of the current file?

You can use the following command to change the current directory to the directory of the current file: >

:cd %:p:h

< To automatically change the current directory to the directory of the current file, simply set the option 'autochdir'. >

:set autochdir

< For more information, read:

|:cd|
|:lcd|
|filename-modifiers|
|autocommand|
|'acd'|
|getcwd()|

                        *faq-5.4*

5.4. How do I write a file without the line feed (EOL) at the end of the file?

You can turn off the 'eol' option and turn on the 'binary' option to write a file without the EOL at the end of the file: >

:set binary
:set noeol
:w

< Alternatively, you can use: >

:set noeol
:w ++bin

< If you rather only like Vim not to write missing EOLs, you can reset the 'fixeol' option. This needs a Vim newer 7.4.785, so you should wrap this in an if condition in your .vimrc like this: >

if exists('+fixeol')
    set nofixeol
endif

< This has the advantage of avoiding the many side effects that the 'binary' option has.

For more information, read:

|'endofline'|
|'fixeol'|
|'binary'|
|23.4|

                        *faq-5.5*

5.5. How do I configure Vim to open a file at the last edited location?

Vim stores the cursor position of the last edited location for each buffer in the '"' register. You can use the following autocmd in your .vimrc or .gvimrc file to open a file at the last edited location: >

au BufReadPost * if line("'\"") > 0 && line("'\"") <= line("$") |
                     \ exe "normal! g`\"" | endif

< Alternatively, you can simply source the vimrc_example.vim file, which is distributed with Vim.

For more information, read:

|'quote|
|last-position-jump|
|vimrc_example.vim|

                        *faq-5.6*

5.6. When editing a file in Vim, which is being changed by an external application, Vim opens a warning window (like the confirm dialog) each time a change is detected. How do I disable this warning?

You can set the Vim 'autoread' option to automatically read the file again when it is changed outside of Vim: >

:set autoread

< You can also use the following autocommand: >

autocmd FileChangedShell *
      \ echohl WarningMsg |
      \ echo "File has been changed outside of vim." |
      \ echohl None

< For more information, read:

|'autoread'|
|FileChangedShell|
|timestamp|
|:checktime|

                        *faq-5.7*

5.7. How do I edit a file whose name is under the cursor?

You can use the gf command to edit a file whose name is under the cursor. You can use the CTRL-W f command to edit the file in a new window and finally you can use CTRL-W gf top open a new tab page that contains the file name under the cursor.

For more information, read:

|gf|
|CTRL-W_f|
|CTRL-W_gf|
|'isfname'|
|'path'|
|'suffixesadd'|
|'includeexpr'|

                        *faq-5.8*

5.8. How do I reload/re-edit the current file?

You can use the ":edit" command, without specifying a file name, to reload the current file. If you have made modifications to the file, you can use ":edit!" to force the reload of the current file (you will lose your modifications, but depending on your 'undoreload' settings, those changes might be saved into the undo history).

For more information, read:

|:edit|
|:edit!|
|'confirm'|
|'undoreload'|

                        *faq-5.9*

5.9. How do I autosave a file periodically?

Vim doesn't support auto-saving a file periodically.

For more information, read:

|'updatetime'|
|CursorHold|
|swap-file|

                        *faq-5.10*

5.10. How do I open a file in read-only mode?

You can open a file in read-only mode using the ":view" command: >

:view 

< This command sets the 'readonly' option for the opened buffer. You can also use the "-R" command-line option to open a file in read-only mode: >

$ vim -R 

< You can also use the symbolic link executable "view" to open a file in read-only mode from the command-line: >

$ view 

< For more information, read:

|07.6|
|'readonly'|
|'modifiable'|
|:view|
|:sview|
|view|
|-R|
|-M|

                        *faq-5.11*

5.11. How do I open a file for editing without saving the modifications to the current file?

You can open a file for editing without saving the modifications to the current file and without losing the changes using one of the following methods: >

:split 
:new 

< You can also set the 'hidden' option and edit a new file: >

:set hidden
:e 

< If you want to discard the changes made to the current file and load another file for editing, then you can use the following command: >

:e! 

< For more information, read:

|:edit!_f|
|'hidden'|
|:split|
|:new|

                        *faq-5.12*

5.12. How do I reduce the loading time for very large files in Vim?

You can use the following settings to reduce the loading time for very large files in Vim: >

:set lazyredraw
:set noswapfile
:set undolevels=-1
:set eventignore=all
:set nohidden
:set syntax=off

< Note that the above settings will disable many Vim features including the following: Swap files support for crash recovery, undo support, syntax highlighting, filetype detection and other autocommand based features.

There is also the LargeFile plugin available at

https://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=1506

which automatically sets these options, when working with large files (it is configurable, what is considered to be a large file, by default, it is 100MB).

============================================================================= faq-6 SECTION 6 - EDITING MULTIPLE FILES ~

                            *faq-6.1*

6.1. How do I open multiple files at once from within Vim?

Make a difference between args, buffers, tabs and windows. They are all different things in VIM.

args is a list of arguments. Buffers are place to edit text, almost always attached to a file but not necessarily. Window is a place for a buffer and tab is set of windows, better name would be 'layout'.

There are several ways to open multiple files at once from within Vim. You can use the ":next" command to specify a group of files: >

:next f1.txt f2.txt
:next *.c

< You can use the :args command to specify a group of files as arguments: >

:args f1.txt f2.txt
:args *.c

< After loading the files, you can use the ":next" and ":prev" command to switch between the files.

To execute command for all files in argument-list use ":argdo"

For more information, read:

|07.2|
|:next|
|:args_f|
|argument-list|

                        *faq-6.2*

6.2. How do I switch between multiple files/buffers in Vim?

To list all buffers use ":ls", to list buffers without file attached to (also known as unlisted buffers, ex. scratch buffer and help-window) use ":ls!"

There are several ways to switch between multiple files. You can use the ":buffer" command to switch between multiple files. You can also shorten command as ":b" and use only part of the filename. For example, >

:buffer file1
:buffer file2
:b e2

< You can also use after ":b" for autocompletion. Try also ":b" followed by to see all available buffers. This works also for ":e".

You can also use the CTRL-^ key to switch between buffers. By specifying a count before pressing the key, you can edit the buffer with that number. Without the count, you can edit the alternate buffer by pressing CTRL-^

You can also use the ":e #" command to edit a particular buffer: >

:e #5

< To close a buffer use ":bd" -command.

To execute command for all files in buffer-list use ":bufdo"

For more information, read:

|edit-files|
|:buffer|
|CTRL-^|
|alternate-file|
|22.4|
|07.3|

                        *faq-6.3*

6.3. How do I open several files in Vim, with each file in a separate window/tab?

You can use the -o and -O Vim command line arguments to open multiple files in separate horizontally or vertically split Vim windows. For example: >

$ vim -o3 f1.txt f2.txt f3.txt

< The above command will open the files f1.txt, f2.txt and f3.txt in three separate horizontally split Vim windows. >

$ vim -O3 f1.txt f2.txt f3.txt

< The above command will open the files f1.txt, f2.txt and f3.txt in three separate vertically split Vim windows. >

$ vim -p f1.txt f2.txt f3.txt

< The above command will open the files f1.txt, f2.txt and f3.txt in three separate tab windows. The option 'tabpagemax' defines, how many tabpages can be opened at the same time, by default it is set to 10.

For more information, read:

|-o|
|-O|
|-p|
|startup-options|
|'tabpagemax'|

                        *faq-6.4*

6.4. How do I configure Vim to autoload several files at once similar to "work-sets" or "projects"?

You can use the ":mksession" and the ":mkview" commands to autoload several files in Vim.

The ":mksession" command creates a Vim script that restores the current editing session. You can use the ":source" command to source the file produced by the mksession command.

The ":mkview" command creates a Vim script that restores the contents of the current window. You can use the ":loadview" command to load the view for the current file.

For more information, read:

|21.4|
|21.5|
|views-sessions|
|'sessionoptions'|
|:mksession|
|:source|
|v:this_session|
|:mkview|
|:loadview|
|'viewdir'|
|buffers|

                        *faq-6.5*

6.5. Is it possible to open multiple top level windows in a single instance of Vim similar to Nedit or Emacs?

No. It is currently not possible to open multiple top-level windows in a single instance of Vim. This feature is in the todo list.

                            *faq-6.6*

6.6. How do I browse/explore directories from within Vim?

You can use the netrw.vim plugin, supplied with the standard Vim installation, to browse/explore directories from within Vim. You can start the file explorer using one of the following commands: >

:e 
:Explore
:Sexplore
:Vexplore
:Texplore

< From the file explorer, you can browse through directories, rename, delete and edit files.

For more information, read:

|netrw.vim|
|22.1|

                        *faq-6.7*

6.7. How do I edit files over a network using ftp/scp/rcp/http?

You can use the netrw.vim plugin, supplied with the standard Vim package, to edit files over a network using ftp/scp/rcp/http. Using this plugin, Vim will transparently load and save the files over ftp/scp/rcp/http. For example, to edit a file over ftp, you can use the following command: >

$ vim ftp://machine/path

< For more information, read:

|netrw.vim|

============================================================================= faq-7 SECTION 7 - BACKUP ~

                            *faq-7.1*

7.1. When I edit and save files, Vim creates a file with the same name as the original file and a "~" character at the end. How do I stop Vim from creating this file? (or) How do I disable the Vim backup file feature?

You have set the 'backup' option, so Vim creates a backup file when saving the original file. You can stop Vim from creating the backup file, by clearing the option: >

:set nobackup

< Note that, by default this option is turned off. You have explicitly enabled the 'backup' option in one of the initialization files. You may also have to turn off the 'writebackup' option: >

:set nowritebackup

< For more information, read:

|07.4|
|backup-table|
|'backup'|
|'writebackup'|
|'backupskip'|
|'backupdir'|
|'backupext'|
|'backupcopy'|
|backup|

                        *faq-7.2*

7.2. When I edit and save files, Vim creates a file with the same name as the original file and a "un~" extension at the end. How do I stop Vim from creating this file (or) How do I disable the Vim undofile feature?

Vim 7.3 contains as new feature persistent undo, that is, undo information won't be lost when quitting Vim and be stored in a file that ends with ".un~" You have set the 'undofile' option, so Vim creates an undo file when saving the original file. You can stop Vim from creating the backup file, by clearing the option: >

:set noundofile

< Note that, by default this option is turned off. You have explicitly enabled the 'undofile' option in one of the initialization files. If you want your undofiles to be stored only in a particular directory, you can point the 'undodir' option to a directory that will contain all your aggregated undofiles.

For more information, read:

|'undodir'|
|'undofile'|
|undo-persistence|

                        *faq-7.3*

7.3. How do I configure Vim to store all the backup files in a particular directory?

You can configure Vim to store all the backup files in a particular directory using the 'backupdir' option. For example, to store all the backup files in the ~/backup directory, you can use the following command: >

:set backupdir=~/backup

< For more information, read:

|07.4|
|'backupdir'|
|backup|

                        *faq-7.4*

7.4. When I save a file with Vim, the file permissions are changed. How do I configure Vim to save a file without changing the file permissions?

This may happen, if the 'backupcopy' option is set to 'no' or 'auto'. Note that the default value for this option is set in such a way that this will correctly work in most of the cases. If the default doesn't work for you, try setting the 'backupcopy' option to 'yes' to keep the file permission when saving a file: >

:set backupcopy=yes

< This applies, only if you have configured Vim to make a backup whenever overwriting a file. By default, Vim will not backup files.

For more information, read:

|'backupcopy'|
|backup|
|'backup'|
|'writebackup'|

============================================================================= faq-8 SECTION 8 - BUFFERS ~

                            *faq-8.1*

8.1. I have made some modifications to a buffer. How do I edit another buffer without saving the modified buffer and also without losing the modifications?

You can set the 'hidden' option to edit a file without losing modifications to the current file: >

:set hidden

< By setting the 'hidden' option, you can also save the modification history (undo-history) for the buffer. Otherwise, as you switch between files, the undo-history will be lost (unless you use persistent undofiles).

For more information, read:

|'hidden'|
|hidden-quit|
|:hide|

                        *faq-8.2*

8.2. How do I configure Vim to auto-save a modified buffer when switching to another buffer?

You can set the 'autowrite' option to auto-save a modified buffer when switching to another buffer: >

:set autowrite

< For more information, read:

|'autowrite'|
|'autowriteall'|
|'hidden'|

                        *faq-8.3*

8.3. How do I replace the buffer in the current window with a blank buffer?

You can use the ":enew" command to load an empty buffer in place of the buffer in the current window.

For more information, read:

|:enew|

                        *faq-8.4*

8.4. Is there a keyboard shortcut to load a buffer by the buffer number?

You can use the CTRL-^ command to load a buffer by specifying the buffer number. For example, to load buffer number 5, you have to use the 5 CTRL-^ command.

For more information, read:

|CTRL-^|

                        *faq-8.5*

8.5. How do I open all the current buffers in separate windows?

You can use the ":ball" or ":sball" commands to open all the buffers in the buffer list: >

:ball

< If you want all buffers to be opened in new tabs, simply prefix the :tab command: >

:tab :sball

< For more information, read:

|:ball|

                        *faq-8.6*

8.6. How do I close (delete) a buffer without exiting Vim?

You can use any of ":bdelete", ":bwipeout" or ":bunload" commands to delete a buffer without exiting Vim. For example: >

:bdelete file1

< For more information, read:

|:bdelete|
|:bwipeout|
|:bunload|

                        *faq-8.7*

8.7. When I use the command ":%bd" to delete all the buffers, not all the buffers are deleted. Why?

In the ":%bd" command, the '%' range will be replaced with the starting and ending line numbers in the current buffer. Instead of using '%' as the range, you should specify numbers for the range. For example, to delete all the buffers, you can use the command ":1,9999bd".

For more information, read:

|:bd|

(This behaviour has been fixed with patch 7.4.530)

                            *faq-8.8*

8.8. How do I display the buffer number of the current buffer/file?

You can use 2 command to display the buffer number for the current file/buffer. Note the use of count before the CTRL-G command. If the count is greater than 1, then Vim will display the buffer number.

You can also use the following command to display the current buffer number: >

:echo bufnr("%")

< You can also include the "%n" field to the 'statusline' option to display the current buffer number on the statusline.

For more information, read:

|CTRL-G|
|bufnr()|
|:echo|
|'statusline'|

                        *faq-8.9*

8.9. How do I delete a buffer without closing the window in which the buffer is displayed?

You can use the following command to open the next buffer and delete the current buffer. >

:bnext | bdelete #

< For more information, read:

|:bnext|
|:bdelete|
|:buffers|

                        *faq-8.10*

8.10. How do I map the tab key to cycle through and open all the buffers?

You can use the following two map commands, to map the CTRL-Tab key to open the next buffer and the CTRL-SHIFT-Tab key to open the previous buffer: >

:nnoremap  :bnext
:nnoremap  :bprevious

< Note, this might not work in the terminal version of Vim.

For more information, read:

|:bnext|
|:bprevious|

============================================================================= faq-9 SECTION 9 - WINDOWS ~

                            *faq-9.1*

9.1. What is the difference between a Vim window and a buffer?

A Vim buffer is a file loaded into memory for editing. The original file remains unchanged until you write the buffer to the file. A Vim window is a viewport onto a buffer. You can use multiple windows on one buffer or several windows on different buffers.

For more information, read:

|usr_08.txt|
|22.4|
|windows-intro|
|Q_wi|

                        *faq-9.2*

9.2. How do I increase the width of a Vim window?

You can increase the width of a Vim window using one of the following commands: >

:vert resize +N
:vert resize -N
:vert resize N

< You can also use CTRL-W < or CTRL-W > or CTRL-W | commands.

For more information, read:

|:vertical-resize|
|CTRL-W_>|
|CTRL-W_

9.3. How do I zoom into or out of a window?

You can zoom into a window (close all the windows except the current window) using the "CTRL-W o" command or the ":only" ex command.

You can use the "CTRL-W _" command or the ":resize" ex command to increase the current window height to the highest possible without closing other windows.

You can use the "CTRL-W |" command or the ":vertical resize" ex command to increase the current window width to the highest possible without closing other windows.

You can use the "CTRL-W =" command to make the height and width of all the windows equal.

You can also set the following options to get better results with the above commands:

Method 1: Set the 'winminheight' option to 0: >

:set winminheight=0

< By default, this option is set to 1. This option controls the minimum height of an inactive window (when it is not the current window). When the 'winminheight' option is set to 0, only the status line will be displayed for inactive windows.

Method 2: Set the 'noequalalways' option and set the 'winheight' option to a large value (like 99999): >

:set noequalalways
:set winheight=99999

< Now, the active window will always open to its maximum size, while the other windows will stay present, but shrunken to just a status line.

With any of the above mentioned methods, you cannot restore the window layout after zooming into a window. If you want to restore the Vim window layout after zooming into a window, you can use the ZoomWin plugin. You can download this plugin from the Vim online website at:

https://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=508

For more information, read:

|CTRL-W_o|
|window-resize|
|'winminheight'|
|'equalalways'|
|'winheight'|
|08.3|

                        *faq-9.4*

9.4. How do I execute an ex command on all the open buffers or open windows or all the files in the argument list?

You can use the ":bufdo" command to execute an ex command on all the open buffers. You can use the ":windo" command to execute an ex command on all the open windows. You can use the ":argdo" command to execute an ex command on all the files specified in the argument list. And finally you can use the ":tabdo" command to execute an ex command in all open tab pages.

For more information, read:

|:windo|
|:bufdo|
|:argdo|
|:tabdo|
|26.3|

============================================================================= faq-10 SECTION 10 - MOTION ~

                            *faq-10.1*

10.1. How do I jump to the beginning (first line) or end (last line) of a file?

You can use 'G' command to jump to the last line in the file and the 'gg' command to jump to the first line in the file.

For more information, read:

|G|
|gg|

                        *faq-10.2*

10.2. In insert mode, when I press the key to go to command mode, the cursor moves one character to the left (except when the cursor is on the first character of the line). Is it possible to change this behavior to keep the cursor at the same column?

No. It is not possible to change this behavior. The cursor is always positioned on a valid character (unless you have virtual-edit mode enabled). So, if you are appending text to the end of a line, when you return to command mode the cursor must drop back onto the last character you typed. For consistency sake, the cursor drops back everywhere, even if you are in the middle of a line.

You can use the CTRL-O or CTRL-\ CTRL-O command in insert mode to execute a single ex command and return back to insert mode without moving the cursor column.

For more information, read:

|'virtualedit'|
|i_CTRL-O|
|i_CTRL-\_CTRL-O|

                        *faq-10.3*

10.3. How do I configure Vim to maintain the horizontal cursor position when scrolling with the , , etc keys?

You can reset the 'startofline' option to keep the cursor at the same horizontal location when scrolling text: >

:set nostartofline

< For more information, read:

|'startofline'|

                        *faq-10.4*

10.4. Some lines in a file are more than the screen width and they are all wrapped. When I use the j, k keys to move from one line to the next, the cursor is moved to the next line in the file instead of the next line on the screen. How do I move from one screen line to the next?

You can use the gj and gk commands to move from one screen line to the next/previous screen line. The j and k commands move the cursor from one file line to the next file line. You can also avoid the line wrapping by resetting the 'wrap' option: >

:set nowrap

< For more information, read:

|gj|
|gk|
|'wrap'|

You can use the following mappings: >

:map  gk
:imap  gk
:map  gj
:imap  gj
:noremap j gj
:noremap k gk

< faq-10.5 10.5. What is the definition of a sentence, paragraph and section in Vim?

A sentence is defined as ending at a '.', '!' or '?' followed by either the end of a line, or by a space (or two) or tab. Which characters and the number of spaces needed to constitute a sentence ending is determined by the 'joinspaces' and 'cpoptions' options.

A paragraph begins after each empty line, and also at each of a set of paragraph macros, specified by the pairs of characters in the 'paragraphs' option.

A section begins after a form-feed () in the first column and at each of a set of section macros, specified by the pairs of characters in the 'sections' option.

For more information, read:

|sentence|
|'joinspaces'|
|'cpoptions'|
|paragraph|
|section|
|word|

                        *faq-10.6*

10.6. How do I jump to beginning or end of a sentence, paragraph or a section?

You can use the following motion commands to jump to the beginning or end of a sentence or a paragraph or a section:

  motion  position    where ~
  ------  ---------   ----------------- ~
  (       beginning   current sentence
  )       end         current sentence
  {       beginning   current paragraph
  }       end         current paragraph
  []      end         previous section
  [[      beginning   current section
  ][      end         current section
  ]]      beginning   next section

Each of these motions can be preceded by a number which will extend the jump forward (or backward).

For more information, read:

|object-motions|

                        *faq-10.7*

10.7. I have lines in a file that extends beyond the right extent of the screen. How do I move the Vim view to the right to see the text off the screen?

You can use one of the following commands to horizontally scroll the screen to the left or right:

cmd  scroll to ~
---  -------------------------- ~
zl   scroll to the left
zh   scroll to the right
zL   scroll half a screenwidth to the left
zH   scroll half a screenwidth to the right
zs   scroll to position the cursor at the start of the screen
ze   scroll to position the cursor at the end of the screen

You can use the g0 command to move the cursor to the first character of the screen line and the g$ command to move the cursor to the last character of the screen line without scrolling the screen.

For more information, read:

|scroll-horizontal|

                        *faq-10.8*

10.8. How do I scroll two or more buffers simultaneously?

You can set the "scrollbind" option for each of the buffers to scroll them simultaneously.

For more information, read:

|'scrollbind'|
|scroll-binding|
|'scrollopt'|
|'cursorbind'|

                        *faq-10.9*

10.9. When I use my arrow keys, Vim changes modes, inserts weird characters in my document but doesn't move the cursor properly. What's going on?

There are a couple of things that could be going on: either you are using Vim over a slow connection or Vim doesn't understand the key sequence that your keyboard is generating.

If you are working over a slow connection (such as a 2400 bps modem), you can try to set the 'timeout' or 'ttimeout' option. These options, combined with the 'timeoutlen' and 'ttimeoutlen' options, may fix the problem.

The preceding procedure will not work correctly if your terminal sends key codes that Vim does not understand. In this situation, your best option is to map your key sequence to a matching cursor movement command and save these mappings in a file. You can then ":source" the file whenever you work from that terminal.

For more information, read:

|'timeout'|
|'ttimeout'|
|'timeoutlen'|
|'ttimeoutlen'|
|:map|
|vt100-cursor-keys|

                        *faq-10.10*

10.10. How do I configure Vim to move the cursor to the end of the previous line, when the left arrow key is pressed and the cursor is currently at the beginning of a line?

You can add the '<' flag to the 'whichwrap' option to configure Vim to move the cursor to the end of the previous line, when the left arrow key is pressed and the cursor is currently at the beginning of a line: >

:set whichwrap+=<

< Similarly, to move the cursor the beginning of the next line, when the right arrow key is pressed and the cursor is currently at the end of a line, add the '>' flag to the 'whichwrap' option: >

:set whichwrap+=>

< The above will work only in normal and visual modes. To use this in insert and replace modes, add the '[' and ']' flags respectively.

For more information, read:

|'whichwrap'|
|05.7|

                        *faq-10.11*

10.11. How do I configure Vim to stay only in insert mode (modeless editing)?

You can set the 'insertmode' option to configure Vim to stay only in insert mode: >

:set insertmode

< By setting this option, you can use Vim as a modeless editor. If you press the key, Vim will not go to the normal mode. To execute a single normal mode command, you can press CTRL-O followed by the normal mode command. To execute more than one normal command, you can use CTRL-L followed by the commands. To return to insert mode, press the key. To disable this option, reset the 'insertmode' option: >

:set noinsertmode

< You can also start vim using the "evim" command or you can use "vim -y" to use Vim as a modeless editor.

You can also start Vim in insert mode using the ":startinsert" ex command.

For more information, read:

|'insertmode'|
|:startinsert|
|:stopinsert|
|i_CTRL-O|
|i_CTRL-L|
|evim|
|evim-keys|

                        *faq-10.12*

10.12. How do I display some context lines when scrolling text?

You can set the 'scrolloff' option to display a minimal number of screen lines (context) above and below the cursor. >

:set scrolloff=10

< For more information, read:

|'scrolloff'|
|'sidescrolloff'|

                        *faq-10.13*

10.13. How do I go back to previous cursor locations?

You can go back to the cursor location before the latest jump using the '' or `` command. You can use the CTRL-O command to go back to older cursor positions and the CTRL-I command to go to the newer cursor positions in the jump list.

For more information, read:

|03.10|
|mark-motions|
|jump-motions|

============================================================================= faq-11 SECTION 11 - SEARCHING TEXT ~

                            *faq-11.1*

11.1. After I searched for a text with a pattern, all the matched text stays highlighted. How do I turn off the highlighting temporarily/permanently?

The 'hlsearch' option controls whether all the matches for the last searched pattern are highlighted or not. By default, this option is not enabled. If this option is set in a system-wide vimrc file, then you can turn off the search highlighting by using the following command: >

:set nohlsearch

< To temporarily turn off the search highlighting, use >

:nohlsearch

< You can also clear the search highlighting, by searching for a pattern that is not in the current file (for example, search for the pattern 'asdf').

You can use this mapping, to clear the search highlighting when redrawing the window pressing >

:nnoremap   :nohls

<

For more information, read:

|'hlsearch'|
|:nohlsearch|

                        *faq-11.2*

11.2. How do I enter a carriage return character in a search pattern?

You can either use '\r' or to enter a carriage return character in a pattern. In Vim scripts, it is better to use '\r' for the carriage return character.

For more information, read:

|sub-replace-special|

                        *faq-11.3*

11.3. How do I search for the character ^M?

You can enter the ^M character in a search command by first pressing the CTRL-V key and then pressing the CTRL-M key. >

/^V^M

< You can also use the "\r" character. In Vim scripts, "\r" is preferred.

For more information, read:

|c_CTRL-V|
|using_CTRL-V|
|/\r|

                        *faq-11.4*

11.4. How can I search/replace characters that display as '~R', '~S', etc.?

You can use the 'ga' command to display the ASCII value/code for the special character. For example, let us say the ASCII value is 142. Then you can use the following command to search for the special character: >

/^V142

< where, ^V is entered by pressing CTRL-V.

For more information, read:

|ga|
|using_CTRL_V|
|24.8|

                        *faq-11.5*

11.5. How do I highlight all the non-printable characters in a file?

You can use the following commands and search pattern to highlight all the non-printable characters in a file: >

:set hlsearch
/\(\p\|$\)\@!.

< For more information, read:

|/\p|
|/bar|
|/$|
|/\(|
|/\@!|
|'hlsearch'|

                        *faq-11.6*

11.6. How do I search for whole words in a file?

You can search for whole words in a file using the < and > atoms. For example: >

/\

< The < atom matches the beginning of the word and the > atom matches the end of the word.

For more information, read:

|/\|

                        *faq-11.7*

11.7. How do I search for the current word under the cursor?

You can press the * key to search forward for the current word under the cursor. To search backward, you can press the # key. Note that only whole keywords will be searched using these commands.

For more information, read:

|star|
|#|
|gstar|
|g#|
|03.8|
|search-commands|

                        *faq-11.8*

11.8. How do I search for a word without regard to the case (uppercase or lowercase)?

To always ignore case while searching for a pattern, set the 'ignorecase' option: >

:set ignorecase

< To ignore case only when searching a particular pattern, use the special \c directive: >

/\c

< For more information, read:

|'ignorecase'|
|/ignorecase|
|/\c|

                        *faq-11.9*

11.9. How do I search for words that occur twice consecutively?

You can use one of the following search commands to locate words that occur twice consecutively: >

 /\(\
 /\(\

< The main difference is the use of '\w' and '\k', where the latter is based on the 'iskeyword' option which may include accented and other language specific characters.

For more information, read:

|/\1|
|/\(|
|/\)|
|/\|
|/\w|
|/\k|
|/\+|
|/\_x|
|'iskeyword'|

                        *faq-11.10*

11.10. How do I count the number of times a particular word occurs in a buffer?

You can use the following set of commands to count the number of times a particular word occurs in a buffer: >

:let cnt=0
:g/\/let cnt=cnt+1
:echo cnt

< This only counts the number of lines where the word occurs. You can also use the following command: >

:%s/\/&/gn

< To count the number of alphabetic words in a file, you can use >

:%s/\a\+/&/gn

< To count the number of words made up of non-space characters, you can use >

:%s/\S\+/&/gn

< For more information, read:

|count-items|
|word-count|
|v_g_CTRL-G|
|12.5|
|:s_flags|

                        *faq-11.11*

11.11. How do I place the cursor at the end of the matched word when searching for a pattern?

You can use the 'e' offset to the search command to place the cursor at the end of the matched word. For example >

/mypattern/e

< For more information about search offsets, read:

|search-offset|
|/|

                        *faq-11.12*

11.12. How do I search for an empty line?

You can search for an empty line using: >

/^$

< or >

/^\s*$

< The latter also matches lines, that consist only of white space, while the former only matches true empty lines. For more information, read:

|/^|
|/$|
|/\s|
|/star|
|search-commands|

                        *faq-11.13*

11.13. How do I search for a line containing only a single character?

You can search for a line containing only a single character using: >

/^\s*\a\s*$

< For more information, read:

|/^|
|/\a|
|/\s|
|/star|
|/$|

                        *faq-11.14*

11.14. How do I search and replace a string in multiple files?

You can use the 'argdo', 'bufdo', 'windo' or 'tabdo' commands to execute an ex command on multiple files. For example: >

:argdo %s/foo/bar/g|upd

< For more information, read:

|:argdo|
|:bufdo|
|:windo|
|:tabdo|

                        *faq-11.15*

11.15. I am using the ":s" substitute command in a mapping. When a search for a pattern fails, the map terminates. I would like the map to continue processing the next command, even if the substitute command fails. How do I do this?

You can use the 'e' flag to the substitute command to continue processing other commands in a map, when a pattern is not found.

For more information, read:

|:s_flags|

                        *faq-11.16*

11.16. How do I search for the n-th occurrence of a character in a line?

To search for the n-th occurrence of a character in a line, you can prefix the 'f' command with a number. For example, to search for the 5th occurrence of the character @ in a line, you can use the command [email protected] This assumes the cursor is at the beginning of the line - and that this first character is not the one your are looking for.

For more information, read:

|f|
|F|
|t|
|T|
|;|
|,|

                        *faq-11.17*

11.17. How do I replace a tab (or any other character) with a hard return (newline) character?

You can replace a tab (or any other character) with a hard return (newline) character using the following command: >

:s/\t/\r/

< Note that in the above command, if you use \n instead of \r, then the tab characters will not be replaced by a new-line character.

For more information, read:

|sub-replace-special|
|NL-used-for-Nul|
|CR-used-for-NL|

                        *faq-11.18*

11.18. How do I search for a character by its ASCII value?

You can search for a character by its ASCII value by pressing CTRL-V followed by the decimal or hexadecimal or octal value of that character in the search "/" command. To determine the ASCII value of a character you can use the ":ascii" or the "ga" command.

For example, to search for the ASCII character with value 188 (??), you can use one of the following search commands: >

/188
/o274
/xBC
/u00bc

< You can also search for the character with the decimal/octal/hex number using a collation [] like this: >

/[\d188]
/[\o274]
/[\xbc]
/[\u00bc]

< Alternatively, you can use the special atom \%d \%o \%x \%u: >

/\%d188
/\%o274
/\%xbc
/\%u00bc

< Or you use digraphs to enter the character. For example enter: >

/CTRL-K14

< to search for the above character.

For more information, read:

|i_CTRL-V_digit|
|:ascii|
|ga|
|/\]|
|/\%d|
|digraphs|

                        *faq-11.19*

11.19. How do I search for long lines?

You can search for long lines or lines containing more than a specific number of characters using the Vim regular-expressions in the search command. For example, to search for all the lines containing more than 80 characters, you can use one of the following commands: >

/^.\{80}.\+$
/^.*\%>80c.*$
/^.*\%>80v.*$

< For more information, read:

|/\{|
|/\%c|
|/\%v|

                        *faq-11.20*

11.20. How do I display all the lines in the current buffer that contain a specified pattern?

You can use the following command to display all the lines in the current buffer that contain a specified pattern: >

:g//p

< For example, the following command will display all the lines in the current buffer that contain "vim": >

:g/vim/p

< Since :p is the default command to be executed for the ex command :g, you can also use: >

:g/vim

< If you also want the corresponding line numbers, then you can use the following command: >

:g//#

< For more information, read:

|:global|
|:print|
|:number|

                        *faq-11.21*

11.21. How do I search for a text string that spans multiple lines?

You can search for a text string that spans multiple lines using the _x regular expression atom. For example, to search for the text string "Hello World", you can use the following search command: >

/Hello\_sWorld

< This will match the word "Hello" followed by a newline character and then the word "World" at the beginning of the next line. This will also match the word "Hello" immediately followed by a space character and then the word "World". When searching for the "Hello World" string, to include the space characters at the end and beginning of the line, you can use the following search command: >

/Hello\_s\+World

< For more information, read:

|27.8|
|pattern-atoms|
|/\_|
|pattern-searches|

                        *faq-11.22*

11.22. How do I search for a pattern within the specified range of lines in a buffer?

You can search for a pattern within a range of lines using the \%>l and \%<l regular expression atoms.

For example, to search for the word 'white' between the lines 10 and 30 in a buffer, you can use the following command: >

/white\%>9l\%<31l

< For more information, read:

|/\%l|

                        *faq-11.23*

11.23. How do I clear the last searched pattern?

The last searched pattern is stored in the "/" register. You can clear this register using the following command: >

:let @/=""

< To clear the last search pattern whenever a buffer is unloaded, you can use the following command: >

:autocmd BufUnload * let @/ = ""

< For more information, read:

|@/|
|:[email protected]|
|autocmd-searchpat|
|last-pattern|

                        *faq-11.24*

11.24. Why does this pattern 'a.{-}p\@!' not match?

"{-}" doesn't just mean "as few as possible", it means "as few as possible to make the whole pattern succeed". If it didn't match the 'p', the whole pattern would fail (because of the "p\@!") so it does match the "p". It is a longer match, but it is the shortest match that makes the whole pattern succeed.

If you wanted "as few as possible regardless" you would use "\@>", which basically divides a pattern up so that the pieces either side behave independently. If the pattern were "a.{-}\@>p\@!" then ".{-}" would always match nothing because that's the smallest match that can succeed when there are not other restrictions. The whole pattern then would behave the same as "ap\@!", i.e. it would match any "a" not followed by a "p").

This means, it matches as few as possible 'a's without trying to keep going until Vim finds the longest match. This means, it will still match 'ap'.

                            *faq-11.25*

11.25. How can I use '/' within a pattern, without escaping it?

When using / to search for a pattern, you need to escape all '/' within the pattern, because they would otherwise terminate the pattern. So you can't directly search for /usr/share/doc/ but need to search for \/usr\/share\/doc\/

The easiest solution around that, would be to use '?' to start a backward search and afterwards use / to use the last search-pattern in forward direction.

If you have a Vim, that has the eval-feature built in (which needs at least a normal built or higher), you can also directly paste the pattern into the search register:

:let @/ = '/usr/share/doc/'

Then use 'n' to jump to the next occurrence.

See also the help at

|@/|
|/|

                        *faq-11.26*

11.26. How can I operate on a search match?

The 'gn' command makes it easy to operate on regions of text that match the current search pattern. By default, it will search forward for the last used search pattern and visually select the match. If the cursor is already on the match, it will be visually selected. If you used the 'gn' command after an operator (e.g. 'c' to change text), it will be applied on the match.

If Visual mode is active before using gn, the visual selection will be extended until the end of the next match.

The 'gN' commands works similar but searches backwards.

This allows to repeat simple operations on each match. For example, you might want to change each occurence of apples by peaches. So you search using '/apple' then you can use 'cgnpeach' to replace the current match by peach. Now you can use the dot '.' command to redo the replacement for the rest of the buffer.

See also the help at

|gn|
|gN|

============================================================================= faq-12 SECTION 12 - CHANGING TEXT ~

                            *faq-12.1*

12.1. How do I delete all the trailing white space characters (SPACE and TAB) at the end of all the lines in a file?

You can use the ":substitute" command on the entire file to search and remove all the trailing white space characters: >

:%s/\s\+$//

< For more information, read:

|:%|
|:s|
|/\s|
|/\+|
|/$|

                        *faq-12.2*

12.2. How do I replace all the occurrences of multiple consecutive space characters to a single space?

You can use the following command to replace all the occurrences of multiple consecutive space characters to a single space: >

:%s/ \{2,}/ /g

< Alternatively use: >

:%s/  \+/ /g

< For more information, read:

|:%|
|:s|
|/\{|
|:s_flags|

                        *faq-12.3*

12.3. How do I reduce a range of empty lines into one line only?

You can use the following command to reduce a range of empty lines into one line only: >

:v/./.,/./-1join

< The explanation for this command is below:

part            description ~
-----           -------------------------- ~
:v/./           Execute the following command for all lines not
                containing a character (empty lines).
 .,             Use the current line as the start of the range of
                lines.
 /./            Use the line containing a character as the last line.
 -1             Adjust the range of lines to end with the line before
                the last line.
 j              Join the lines in the range.

Note that this will give an error message if the empty lines are at the end of the file. To correct this, you have to add a temporary line at the end of the file, execute the command and then remove the temporary line.

For more information, read:

|:v|
|:join|
|cmdline-ranges|
|collapse|

                        *faq-12.4*

12.4. How do I delete all blank lines in a file? How do I remove all the lines containing only space characters?

To remove all blank lines, use the following command: >

:g/^$/d

< To remove all lines with only whitespace (spaces or tabs) in them, use the following command: >

:g/^\s\+$/d

< To remove all the lines with only whitespace, if anything, use the following command: >

:g/^\s*$/d

< faq-12.5 12.5. How do I copy/yank the current word?

You can use the "yiw" (yank inner word without whitespace) command or the "yaw" (yank a word with whitespace) command to copy/yank the current word.

For more information, read:

|04.6|
|04.8|
|iw|
|yank|
|text-objects|
|objects|

                        *faq-12.6*

12.6. How do I yank text from one position to another position within a line, without yanking the entire line?

You can specify a motion command with the yank operator (y) to yank text from one position to another position within a line. For example, to yank from the current cursor position till the next letter x, use yfx or Fx or tx or Tx. To yank till the nth column, use n|. To yank till the next occurrence of a 'word', use /word. To do a yank till the nth column on another line, first mark the position using the 'ma' command, go to the start of the yank position, and then yank till the mark using y`a (note the direction of the quote)

For more information, read:

|yank|
|motion.txt|
|04.6|

                        *faq-12.7*

12.7. When I yank some text into a register, how do I append the text to the current contents of the register?

When you specify the register for some operation, if you use the upper-case for the register name, then the new text will be appended to the existing contents. For example, if you have some text in the register "a". If you want to append some new text to this, you have to use the "A" register name. If you use the lowercase register name, then the contents of the register will be overwritten with the new text.

For more information, read:

|quote|
|quote_alpha|
|10.1|

                        *faq-12.8*

12.8. How do I yank a complete sentence that spans over more than one line?

To yank a complete sentence that spans over more than one line you have to use the yank operator followed by a motion command. For example: >

    y)

< From inside the sentence you can use 'yi)' to yank the sentence.

For more information, read:

|yank|
|{motion}|
|object-motions|
|04.6|

                        *faq-12.9*

12.9. How do I yank all the lines containing a pattern into a buffer?

You can use the ":global" command to yank all the lines containing the pattern into a register and then paste the contents of the register into the buffer: >

:let @a=''
:g/mypattern/y A

< The first command, clears the contents of the register "a". The second command copies all the lines containing "mypattern" into the register "a". Note that the capital letter "A" is used to append the matched lines. Now you can paste the contents of register "a" to a buffer using "ap command.

If you only want to collect all matches, you can use a different approach. For that run the ':s' command with the flags 'gn' so that it won't actually change the buffer ('n' flag) but select each match ('g' flag). Combining this with the '=' part in the replacement part, you can copy each match to e.g. a list. Altogether this looks like this: >

:let list=[]
:%s/pattern/\=add(list, submatch(0))/gn

< Now all matches will be in the list and you can post process them as wanted.

For more information, read:

|:g|
|:y|
|:let-register|
|quote_alpha|
|put|
|registers|
|:registers|
|sub-replace-\=|

                        *faq-12.10*

12.10. How do I delete all the lines in a file that do not contain a pattern?

You can use ":v" command to delete all the lines that do not contain a pattern: >

:v/pattern/d

< or >

:g!/pattern/d

< For more information, read:

|:v|
|:g|

                        *faq-12.11*

12.11. How do I add a line before each line with "pattern" in it?

You can use the following command to add a line before each line with "pattern" in it: >

:g/pattern/normal! Oi

< Alternatively you can yank the line using the Y command and then insert the line using the following command: >

:g/pattern/put!

< For more information, read:

|:g|
|:put|
|insert|
|0|

                        *faq-12.12*

12.12. Is there a way to operate on a line if the previous line contains a particular pattern?

You can use the ":global" command to operate on a line, if the previous line contains a particular pattern: >

:g//+{cmd}

< For more information, read:

|:g|
|:range|

                        *faq-12.13*

12.13. How do I execute a command on all the lines containing a pattern?

You can use the ":global" (:g) command to execute a command on all the lines containing a pattern. >

:g/my pattern/d

< If you want to use a non-Ex command, then you can use the ":normal" command: >

:g/my pattern/normal {command}

< Unless you want the normal mode commands to be remapped, consider using a ":normal!" command instead (note the "!").

For more information, read:

|:global|
|:v|
|:normal|

                        *faq-12.14*

12.14. Can I copy the character above the cursor to the current cursor position?

In Insert mode, you can copy the character above the cursor to the current cursor position by typing . The same can be done with the characters below the cursor by typing .

For more information, read:

|i_CTRL-Y|
|i_CTRL-E|

                        *faq-12.15*

12.15. How do I insert a blank line above/below the current line without entering insert mode?

You can use the ":put" ex command to insert blank lines. For example, try >

:put =''
:put! =''

< For more information, read:

|:put|

                        *faq-12.16*

12.16. How do I insert the name of the current file into the current buffer?

There are several ways to insert the name of the current file into the current buffer. In insert mode, you can use the % or the =expand("%") command. In normal mode, you can use the ":put [email protected]%" command.

For more information, read:

|i_CTRL-R|
|expand()|
|!!|

                        *faq-12.17*

12.17. How do I insert the contents of a Vim register into the current buffer?

In insert mode, you can use the command to insert the contents of . For example, use a to insert the contents of register "a" into the current buffer.

In normal mode, you can use the ":put " command to insert the contents of . For example, use the ":put d" command to insert the contents of register "d" into the current buffer.

For more information, read:

|i_CTRL-R|
|i_CTRL-R_CTRL-R|
|i_CTRL-R_CTRL-O|
|i_CTRL-R_CTRL-P|
|:put|

                        *faq-12.18*

12.18. How do I move the cursor past the end of line and insert some characters at some columns after the end of the line?

You can set the "virtualedit" option to move the cursor past the end-of-line and insert characters in a column after the end-of-line. To start the virtual mode, use >

:set virtualedit=all

< For more information, read:

|'virtualedit'|

                        *faq-12.19*

12.19. How to replace the word under the cursor (say: junk) with "foojunkbar" in Vim?

There are several ways to do this. If the word is the first such word on the line, use the following command: >

:exe "s/".expand("")."/foo&bar/"

< To match specifically you could use a more complex substitution like this: >

:exe 's/\").'\%>'.(col(".")-1).'c\>/foo&bar/'

< You can also use the command: ciwfoo"bar

For more information, read:

|:substitute|
|expand()|
|col()|
|/\%c|

                        *faq-12.20*

12.20. How do I replace a particular text in all the files in a directory?

You can use the "argdo" command to execute the substitute command on all the files specified as arguments: >

:args *
:argdo %s///ge | update

< For more information, read:

|:args_f|
|:argdo|
|:s_flags|

                        *faq-12.21*

12.21. I have some numbers in a file. How do I increment or decrement the numbers in the file?

You can use the CTRL-A key to increment the number and the CTRL-X key to decrement the number. You can also specify the number to increment/decrement from the number by specifying a count to the key. This works for decimal, octal and hexadecimal numbers. You can change the base used by Vim for this operation by modifying the 'nrformats' option.

For more information, read:

|26.2|
|CTRL-A|
|CTRL-X|
|'nrformats'|

                        *faq-12.22*

12.22. How do I reuse the last used search pattern in a ":substitute" command?

To reuse the last used search pattern in a ":substitute" command, don't specify a new search pattern: >

:s/pattern/newtext/
:s//sometext/

< In the second ":s" command, as a search pattern is not specified, the pattern specified in the first ":s" command 'pattern' will be used.

If you want to change the search pattern but repeat the substitution pattern you can use the special right hand side, you can use the tilde character: >

:s/newpattern/~/

< For more information, read:

|:s|
|:&|
|:~|
|&|
|sub-replace-special|

                        *faq-12.23*

12.23. How do I change the case of a string using the ":substitute" command?

You can use special characters in the replacement string for a ":substitute" command to change the case of the matched string. For example, to change the case of the string "MyString" to all uppercase, you can use the following command: >

:%s/MyString/\U&/g

< To change the case to lowercase, you can use the following command: >

:%s/MyString/\L&/g

< To change the case of the first character in all the words in the current line to uppercase, you can use the following command: >

:s/\/\u\1\L\2/g

< For more information, read:

|sub-replace-special|
|:substitute|
|/\U|
|/\L|
|/\u|

                        *faq-12.24*

12.24. How do I enter characters that are not present in the keyboard?

You can use digraphs to enter characters that are not present in the keyboard. You can use the ":digraphs" command to display all the currently defined digraphs. You can add a new digraph to the list using the ":digraphs" command.

For more information, read:

|digraphs|
|'digraph'|
|24.9|

                        *faq-12.25*

12.25. Is there a command to remove any or all digraphs?

No. The digraphs table is defined at compile time. You can only add new ones. Adding a command to remove digraphs is on the todo list.

                            *faq-12.26*

12.26. In insert mode, when I press the backspace key, it erases only the characters entered in this instance of insert mode. How do I erase previously entered characters in insert mode using the backspace key?

This is traditional vi behaviour. You can set the 'backspace' option to erase previously entered characters in insert mode: >

:set backspace=indent,eol,start

< For more information, read:

|'backspace'|
|i_backspacing|

                        *faq-12.27*

12.27. I have a file which has lines longer than 72 characters terminated with "+" and wrapped to the next line. How can I quickly join the lines?

You can use the ":global" command to search and join the lines: >

:g/+$/j

< This will, however, only join every second line. A couple of more complex examples which will join all consecutive lines with a "+" at the end are: >

:g/+$/,/\(^\|[^+]\)$/j
:g/+$/mark a | .,/\(^\|[^+]\)$/s/+$// | 'a,.j

< For more information, read:

|:g|
|:j|
|:mark|

                        *faq-12.28*

12.28. How do I paste characterwise yanked text into separate lines?

You can use the ":put" command to paste characterwise yanked text into new lines: >

:put [email protected]"

< For more information, read:

|:put|
|quote_=|

                        *faq-12.29*

12.29. How do I change the case (uppercase, lowercase) of a word or a character or a block of text?

You can use the "~" command to switch the case of a character.

You can change the case of the word under the cursor to uppercase using the "gUiw" or "viwU" command and to lowercase using the "guiw" or "viwu" command.

You can switch the case (upper case to lower case and vice versa) of the word under the cursor using the "viw~" or "g~iw" command.

You can use the "gUgU" command to change the current line to uppercase and the "gugu" command to change the current line to lowercase.

You can use the "g~g~" command to switch the case of the current line. You can use the "g~{motion}" or "{Visual}~" commands to switch the case of a block of text.

If you set 'tildeop' the "~" command behaves like an operator and expects a motion command to act on. If you have >

:set tildeop

< and you want to change the case from the current cursor position to the end of line, simply use "~$".

For more information, read:

|case|
|'tildeop'|

                        *faq-12.30*

12.30. How do I enter ASCII characters that are not present in the keyboard?

You can enter ASCII characters that are not present in the keyboard by pressing CTRL-V and then the ASCII character number. You can also use digraphs to enter special ASCII characters.

For more information, read:

|i_CTRL-V_digit|
|digraphs|
|45.5|

                        *faq-12.31*

12.31. How do I replace non-printable characters in a file?

To replace a non-printable character, you have to first determine the ASCII value for the character. You can use the ":ascii" ex command or the "ga" normal-mode command to display the ASCII value of the character under the cursor.

You can enter the non-printable character by entering CTRL-V followed by the decimal number 1-255 (with no leading zero), or by x and a hex number 00-FF, or by an octal number 0-0377 (with leading zero), or by u and a hex number 0-FFFF, or by U and a hex number 0-7FFFFFFF

Another alternative is to use the ":digraphs" ex command to display the digraphs for all characters, together with their value in decimal and alpha. You can enter a non-printable character by entering CTRL-K followed by two alphanumeric characters (a digraph).

For more information, read:

|:ascii|
|i_CTRL-V|
|i_CTRL-V_digit|
|:digraphs|

                        *faq-12.32*

12.32. How do I remove duplicate lines from a buffer?

You can use the following user-defined command to remove all the duplicate lines from a buffer:

:command -range=% Uniq ,g/^\%<l(.*)\n\1$/d

Add the above command to your .vimrc file and invoke ":Uniq" to remove all the duplicate lines.

                            *faq-12.33*

12.33. How do I prefix all the lines in a file with the corresponding line numbers?

You can prefix the lines in a file with the corresponding line number in several ways. Some of them are listed below: >

:%s/^/\=line('.'). ' '
:%s/^/\=printf('%5d ', line('.'))/
:%s/^/\=strpart(line('.').'.     ', 0, 5)
:%s/^/\=strpart('   ', strlen(line('.'))).line('.').'. '

< The last two commands will pad the line numbers with space characters. The last command will right align the numbers and the command before that will left align the numbers.

If you don't want to number consecutive lines but rather non-consecutive regions, you can also use this idiom: >

:let i = 1
:g/TODO/s/^/\=printf('%2d.',i)|let i+=1

< This first initializes the variable i with 1. In the next line, a :g command is used to perform a substitute command only on lines, that match 'TODO'. After the substitute command has taken place, the variable i will be incremented by 1.

For more information, read:

|sub-replace-special|
|line()|
|expr6|
|strpart()|
|printf()|
|:execute|
|:global|

                        *faq-12.34*

12.34. How do I exchange (swap) two characters or words or lines?

You can exchange two characters with the "xp" command sequence. The 'x' will delete the character under the cursor and 'p' will paste the just deleted character after the character under the cursor. This will result in exchanging the two characters.

You can exchange two words with the "deep" command sequence (start with the cursor in the blank space before the first word).

You can exchange two lines with the "ddp" command sequence. The 'dd' will delete the current line and 'p' will paste the just deleted line after the current line. This will result in exchanging the two lines.

All of the above operations will change the " unnamed register.

You can use the ":m +" ex command to exchange two lines without changing the unnamed register.

For more information, read:

|x|
|p|
|dd|
|d|
|e|
|linewise-register|
|quotequote|
|:move|

                        *faq-12.35*

12.35. How do I change the characters used as word delimiters?

Vim uses the characters specified by the 'iskeyword' option as word delimiters. The default setting for this option is "@,48-57,_,192-255".

For example, to add ':' as a word delimiter, you can use >

:set iskeyword+=:

< To remove '_' as a word delimiter, you can use >

:set iskeyword-=_

< For more information, read:

|'iskeyword'|
|word|

============================================================================= faq-13 SECTION 13 - COMPLETION IN INSERT MODE ~

                            *faq-13.1*

13.1. How do I complete words or lines in insert mode?

In insert mode, you can complete words using the CTRL-P and CTRL-N keys. The CTRL-N command searches forward for the next matching keyword. The CTRL-P command searches backwards for the next matching keyword.

In insert mode, you can use the CTRL-X CTRL-L command sequence to complete lines that starts with the same characters as in the current line before the cursor. To get the next matching line, press the CTRL-P or CTRL-N keys. There are a lot of other keys/ways available to complete words in insert mode.

Vim supports completion of the following items: >

CTRL-X CTRL-L    whole lines
CTRL-X CTRL-N    keywords in the current file
CTRL-X CTRL-K    words from a dictionary
CTRL-X CTRL-T    words from a thesaurus
CTRL-X CTRL-I    current and included files
CTRL-X CTRL-]    tags
CTRL-X CTRL-F    file names
CTRL-X CTRL-D    macro definitions (also in included files)
CTRL-X CTRL-V    Vim command line
CTRL-X CTRL-U    User defined completion
CTRL-X CTRL-O    Omni completion

< User defined completions and omni completions are often set by filetype plugins.

For more information, read:

|24.3|
|ins-completion|

                        *faq-13.2*

13.2. How do I complete file names in insert mode?

In insert mode, you can use the CTRL-X CTRL-F command sequence to complete filenames that start with the same characters as in the current line before the cursor.

For more information, read:

|compl-filename|

                        *faq-13.3*

13.3. I am using CTRL-P/CTRL-N to complete words in insert mode. How do I complete words that occur after the just completed word?

You can use CTRL-X CTRL-N and CTRL-X CTRL-P keys to complete words that are present after the just completed word.

For more information, read:

|i_CTRL-X_CTRL-P|
|i_CTRL-X_CTRL-N|
|ins-completion|

============================================================================= faq-14 SECTION 14 - TEXT FORMATTING ~

                            *faq-14.1*

14.1. How do I format a text paragraph so that a new line is inserted at the end of each wrapped line?

You can use the 'gq' command to format a paragraph. This will format the text according to the current 'textwidth' setting. An alternative would be to use the 'gw' command that formats like 'gq' but does not move the cursor.

Note that the gq operator can be used with a motion command to operate on a range of text. For example: >

gqgq - Format the current line
gqap - Format current paragraph
gwap - Format current paragraph (and don't move cursor)
gq3j - Format the current and the next 3 lines

< For more information, read:

|gq|
|gw|
|formatting|
|usr_25.txt|
|motion.txt|

                        *faq-14.2*

14.2. How do I format long lines in a file so that each line contains less than 'n' characters?

You can set the 'textwidth' option to control the number of characters that can be present in a line. For example, to set the maximum width of a line to 70 characters, you can use the following command: >

set textwidth=70

< Now to break the long lines in a file to the length defined by the 'textwidth' option, you can use >

:g/./normal gqq

< For more information, read:

|'textwidth'|
|gq|

                        *faq-14.3*

14.3. How do I join short lines to form a paragraph?

First, make sure the 'textwidth' option is set to a high value: >

:set textwidth=99999

< Next, join the short lines to form a paragraph using the command: >

1GgqG

< The above command will operate on the entire file. To do the formatting on all paragraphs in a specific range, use: >

:'a,'bg/\S/normal gq}

< For more information, read:

|gq|
|G|
|gqq|

                        *faq-14.4*

14.4. How do I format bulleted and numbered lists?

You can configure Vim to format bulleted and numbered lists using the 'formatoptions' option. For example, you can format the list of the following format:

  • this is a test. this is a test. this is a test. this is a test. this is a test.

into this format:

  • this is a test. this is a test. this is a test. this is a test. this is a test.

You can use the 'n' flag in the 'formatoptions' to align the text. >

:set fo+=n

< With this option, when formatting text, Vim will recognize numbered lists. For this option to work, the 'autoindent' option also must be set.

For more information, read:

|'formatoptions'|
|fo-table|
|format-comments|

                        *faq-14.5*

14.5. How do I indent lines in insert mode?

In insert mode, you can press the CTRL-T key to insert one shiftwidth of indent at the start of the current line. In insert mode, you can use the CTRL-D key to delete on shiftwidth of indent at the start of the current line. You can also use the CTRL-O >> and CTRL-O << commands to indent the current line in insert mode.

For more information, read:

|i_CTRL-T|
|i_CTRL-D|
|i_0_CTRL-D|
|i_CTRL-O|
|>>|
|<

14.6. How do I format/indent an entire file?

You can format/indent an entire file using the gg=G command, where >

gg - Goto the beginning of the file
=  - apply indentation
G  - till end of file

< For more information, read:

|gg|
|=|
|G|
|'formatprg'|
|C-indenting|

                        *faq-14.7*

14.7. How do I increase or decrease the indentation of the current line?

You can use the '>>' and '<<' commands to increase or decrease the indentation of the current line.

For more information, read:

|shift-left-right|
|>>|
|<

14.8. How do I indent a block/group of lines?

You can visually select the group of lines and press the > or < key to indent/unindent the lines. You can also use the following ex-command to indent the lines >

:10,20>

< For more information, read:

|shift-left-right|
|v_>|
|v_|

                        *faq-14.9*

14.9. When I indent lines using the > or < key, the standard 8-tabstops are used instead of the current 'tabstop' setting. Why?

The number of spaces used when lines are indented using the ">" operator is controlled by the 'shiftwidth' option. The 'tabstop' setting is only used, when the 'shiftwidth' option is zero. >

:set shiftwidth=4

< For more information, read:

|'shiftwidth'|
|>>|
|'softtabstop'|

                        *faq-14.10*

14.10. How do I turn off the automatic indentation of text?

By default, the automatic indentation of text is not turned on. Check the configuration files (.vimrc, .gvimrc) for settings related to indentation. Make sure the ":filetype indent on" command is not present. If it is present, remove it. Also, depending on your preference, you may also want to check the value of the 'autoindent', 'smartindent', 'cindent' and 'indentexpr' options and turn them off as needed.

For more information, read:

|:filetype-indent-off|
|'autoindent'|
|'smartindent'|
|'cindent'|
|'indentexpr'|

                        *faq-14.11*

14.11. How do I configure Vim to automatically set the 'textwidth' option to a particular value when I edit mails?

You can use the 'FileType' autocommand to set the 'textwidth' option: >

autocmd FileType mail set tw=

< For more information, read:

|:autocmd|
|FileType|
|usr_43.txt|

                        *faq-14.12*

14.12. Is there a way to make Vim auto-magically break lines?

Yes. Set the 'textwidth' option to the preferred length for a line. Then Vim will auto-magically break the newly entered lines. For example: >

:set textwidth=75

< For more information, read:

|'textwidth'|
|ins-textwidth|
|'formatoptions'|
|fo-table|
|formatting|

                        *faq-14.13*

14.13. I am seeing a lot of ^M symbols in my file. I tried setting the 'fileformat' option to 'dos' and then 'unix' and then 'mac'. None of these helped. How can I hide these symbols?

When a file is loaded in Vim, the format of the file is determined as below:

  • If all the lines end with a new line (), then the fileformat is 'unix'.
  • If all the lines end with a carriage return () followed by a new line (), then the fileformat is 'dos'.
  • If all the lines end with carriage return (), then the fileformat is 'mac'.

If the file has some lines ending with and some lines ending with followed by a , then the fileformat is set to 'unix'.

You can change the format of the current file, by saving it explicitly in dos format: >

:w ++ff=dos

< To display the format of the current file, use >

:set fileformat?

< The above behavior is also controlled by the 'fileformats' option. You can try the following commands: >

:set fileformats+=unix
:e 
:set fileformat=unix
:w

< To remove the carriage return () character at the end of all the lines in the current file, you can use the following command: >

:%s/\r$//

< To force Vim to use a particular file format, when editing a file, you can use the following command: >

:e ++ff=dos filename

< For more information, read:

|'fileformats'|
|'fileformat'|
|file-formats|
|DOS-format-write|
|Unix-format-write|
|Mac-format-write|
|dos-file-formats|
|23.1|
|++ff|

                        *faq-14.14*

14.14. When I paste some text into a Vim buffer from another application, the alignment (indentation) of the new text is messed up. How do I fix this?

When you paste text into a GUI Vim using the mouse, Vim is able to detect that you are pasting text. So all the indentation related settings (like autoindent, smartindent, cindent, etc.) are ignored and the text is pasted literally.

When pasting text into a Vim running in a terminal (like xterm) using the mouse, Vim may not be able to detect that you are pasting text. This depends on several things: the capability of the terminal to pass the mouse events to Vim, Vim is compiled to handle mouse events and access the clipboard, the DISPLAY variable is set properly, the Vim 'mouse' option is set correctly.

If Vim is able to detect that you are pasting text using the mouse, then the pasted text will be inserted literally.

If Vim is not able to detect that you are pasting using the mouse, then it will see the pasted text as though you literally typed the text. After the first line from the pasted text is inserted, when Vim encounters the newline character, because of the indentation settings, the next line will start indented. The spaces at the beginning of the second line in the pasted text will be inserted leading to additional indentation. This will be repeated for subsequent lines. So the pasted text will be inserted with stair case indentation.

You can fix this problem in a terminal Vim in several ways:

  1. Build Vim with the +mouse and +xterm_clipboard compile-time options. The normal or big or huge build of Vim includes these options. Set the 'mouse' option to either 'a' or include 'i'. When pasting text using the mouse, don't press the Shift key. This will work only if Vim can access the X display. For more information, read the following Vim help topics:

    |+feature-list| |'mouse'| || |x11-selection| |xterm-clipboard|

1.1 Some Linux distributions build their terminal vim packages without X support. This makes no sense and leaves many users with the impression that Vim in terminal mode doesn't support some operations such as properly pasting text with a mouse. >

If your distribution includes gvim, which it almost certainly
does these days, the solutions to this include the following.

< a) Start Vim as >

        gvim -v

< b) Put this alias in your shell's configuration file, e.g. ~/.bashrc: >

        alias vim='gvim -v'

< c) Put the following command in a file named 'vim' and put that file in your ~/bin directory: >

        gvim -v "[email protected]"

< d) Link the distribution's gvim to ~/bin/vim with the following command, which needs to be executed only once. >

        ln -s $(which gvim) ~/bin/vim

< For c) and d), make sure that ~/bin precedes /usr/bin in your PATH.

  1. Paste the text using the CTRL-R CTRL-O * command. This will paste the text literally without any automatic indentation. If you want to paste the text and then fix the indentation, then you can use CTRL-R CTRL-P *. These commands will work only if Vim can access the X display. For more information, read the following Vim help topics:

    |iCTRL-RCTRL-O| |iCTRL-RCTRL-P| |quotestar|

  2. Set the 'paste' option before pasting the text. This option will disable the effect of all the indentation related settings. Make sure to turn off this option using ':set nopaste' after pasting the text. Otherwise the Vim indentation feature will not work. Do not permanently set the 'paste' option in your .vimrc file. If you are going to repeat these steps often, then you can set the 'pastetoggle' option to a key. When you press the specified key, the 'paste' option will be toggled. You can press the key once before pasting the text and the press the key once after pasting the text. Note that when the 'paste' option is set, all the mappings and abbreviations are disabled. For more information, read the following Vim help topics:

    |'paste'| |'pastetoggle'|

You can also refer to the following topics in the user manual:

|04.7|
|09.3|

                        *faq-14.15*

14.15. When there is a very long wrapped line (wrap is "on") and a line doesn't fit entirely on the screen it is not displayed at all. There are blank lines beginning with '@' symbol instead of wrapped line. If I scroll the screen to fit the line the '@' symbols disappear and the line is displayed again. What Vim setting control this behavior?

You can set the 'display' option to 'lastline' to display as much as possible of the last line in a window instead of displaying the '@' symbols. >

:set display=lastline

< For more information, read:

|'display'|

                        *faq-14.16*

14.16. How do I convert all the tab characters in a file to space characters?

You can use the ":retab" command to update all the tab characters in the current file with the current setting of 'expandtab' and 'tabstop'. For example, to convert all the tabs to white spaces, use >

:set expandtab
:retab

< For more information, read:

|:retab|
|'expandtab'|
|'tabstop'|
|25.3|

                        *faq-14.17*

14.17. What Vim options can I use to edit text that will later go to a word processor?

You can set the following options to edit text that will later go into a word processor: >

:set wrap
:set linebreak
:set textwidth=0
:set showbreak=>>>

< You can use the 'gk' and 'gj' commands to move one screen line up and down. For more information, read:

|'wrap'|
|'linebreak'|
|'textwidth'|
|'showbreak'|
|gk|
|gj|

                        *faq-14.18*

14.18. How do I join lines without adding or removing any space characters?

By default, when you join lines using the "J" or ":join" command, Vim will replace the line break, leading white space and trailing white space with a single space character. If there are space characters at the end of a line or a line starts with the ')' character, then Vim will not add a space character.

To join lines without adding or removing any space characters, you can use the gJ or ":join!" commands.

For more information, read:

|gJ|
|:join|
|J|
|10.5|
|'joinspaces'|
|'cpoptions'|
|'formatoptions'|

============================================================================= faq-15 SECTION 15 - VISUAL MODE ~

                            *faq-15.1*

15.1. How do I do rectangular block copying?

You can do rectangular block copying in Vim using the blockwise visual mode. To start blockwise visual mode use the CTRL-V key. Move the cursor using any of the motion commands and then use the y operator to yank to visually selected text.

If CTRL-V does not work as expected, it may have been remapped to CTRL-Q by the mswin.vim script which is often sourced by a vimrc on Windows machines to mimic some common short cuts from other programs.

For more information, read:

|04.4|
|blockwise-visual|
|visual-mode|
|Q_vi|

                        *faq-15.2*

15.2. How do I delete or change a column of text in a file?

You can use the Vim block-wise visual mode to select the column of text and apply an operator (delete, change, copy, etc) on it.

For more information, read:

|visual-block|
|visual-operators|

                        *faq-15.3*

15.3. How do I apply an ex-command on a set of visually selected lines?

When you select a range of lines in visual mode, the < register is set to the start of the visual region and the > register is set to the end of the visual region. You can use these registers to specify the range for an ex command. After visually selecting the lines, press ":" to go to the command mode. Vim will automatically insert the visual range '<,'>. You can run any ex-command on the visual range.

For more information, read:

|v_:|
|'|

                        *faq-15.4*

15.4. How do I execute an ex command on a column of text selected in Visual block mode?

All the ex commands operate on whole lines only. If you try to execute an ex command on a column of text selected in visual block mode, Vim will operate on all the selected lines (instead of the selected columns). You can use the vis.vim or NrrwRgn plugin script from https://www.vim.org scripts archive to do this.

For more information, read:

|cmdline-ranges|
|10.3|
|cmdline-lines|

                        *faq-15.5*

15.5. How do I select the entire file in visual mode?

You can select the entire file in visual mode using ggVG. >

gg - go to the beginning of the file.
V  - Start linewise visual mode
G  - goto the end of the file.

< For more information, read:

|gg|
|linewise-visual|
|G|

                        *faq-15.6*

15.6. When I visually select a set of lines and press the > key to indent the selected lines, the visual mode ends. How can I reselect the region for further operation? (or) How do I re-select the last selected visual area again?

You can use the 'gv' command to reselect the last selected visual area. You can also use the marks '< and '> to jump to the beginning or the end of the last selected visual area.

For more information, read:

|gv|
|'|

                        *faq-15.7*

15.7. How do I jump to the beginning/end of a visually selected region?

You can use the 'o' command to jump to the beginning/end of a visually selected region.

For more information, read:

|v_o|

                        *faq-15.8*

15.8. When I select text with mouse and then press : to enter an ex command, the selected text is replaced with the : character. How do I execute an ex command on a text selected using the mouse similar to the text selected using the visual mode?

This will happen if you have configured Vim to use select mode instead of Visual mode by setting the 'selectmode' option. Check the value of this option: >

:set selectmode?

< This mode is known as selectmode and is similar to the visual mode. This option is also automatically set when you use the "behave mswin" command. Select mode looks like visual mode, but it is similar to the selection mode in MS-Windows.

For more information, read:

|Select-mode|
|'selectmode'|
|09.4|
|:behave|

                        *faq-15.9*

15.9. When I select a block of text using the mouse, Vim goes into selection mode instead of Visual mode. Why?

The 'selectmode' option controls whether Select mode will be started when selecting a block of text using the mouse. To start Visual mode when selecting text using mouse, remove the 'mouse' value from the 'selectmode' option: >

:set selectmode-=mouse

< Note that by default, the 'selectmode' option will be set to empty, so that always visual mode is used.

For more information, read:

|'selectmode'|
|Select-mode|
|:behave|

                        *faq-15.10*

15.10. How do I visually select the last copy/pasted text?

You can use the '[ and '] marks to visually select the last copy/pasted text. The '[ mark is set to the beginning of the last changed/yanked text and the '] mark is set to the end of the last changed/yanked text. To visually select this block of text use the command '[v']

For more information, read:

|'[|
|']|
|`a|
|v|

============================================================================= faq-16 SECTION 16 - COMMAND-LINE MODE ~

                            *faq-16.1*

16.1. How do I use the name of the current file in the command mode or an ex command line?

In the command line, the '%' character represents the name of the current file. In some commands, you have to use expand("%") to get the filename: >

:!perl %

< Another example is to load the latex generated pdf file from the file you are currently editing: >

:!xpdf %<.pdf>

< For more information, read:

|:_%|
|cmdline-special|
|expand()|

                        *faq-16.2*

16.2. How do I edit the text in the Vim command-line effectively?

You can use the command-line window for editing Vim command-line text. To open the Vim command-line window use the "q:" command in normal mode. In command-line mode, use the CTRL-F key. In this window, the command line history will be displayed. You can use normal Vim keys/commands to edit any previous/new command line. To execute a command line, press the enter/return key.

In a similar vain, the search history can be edited with "q/" and "q?" commands.

For more information, read:

|cmdline-window|

                        *faq-16.3*

16.3. How do I switch from Vi mode to Ex mode?

You can use the Q command to switch from Vi mode to Ex mode. To switch from Ex mode back to the Vi mode, use the :vi command.

For more information, read:

|Q|
|gQ|
|Ex-mode|
|:vi|

                        *faq-16.4*

16.4. How do I copy the output from an ex-command into a buffer?

To copy the output from an ex-command into a buffer, you have to first get the command output into a register. You can use the ":redir" command to get the output into a register. For example, >

:redir @a
:g/HelloWord/p
:redir END

< Now the register 'a' will contain the output from the ex command "g/HelloWord/p". Now you can paste the contents of the register 'a' into a buffer. You can also send or append the output of an ex-command into a file using the 'redir' command.

You can prefix the ":global" command with ":silent", to avoid having the lines printed to the screen.

To redirect the output from an ex-command to a file, you can use the following set of commands: >

:redir > myfile
:g/HelloWord/p
:redir END

< For more information, read:

|:redir|
|:silent|

                        *faq-16.5*

16.5. When I press the tab key to complete the name of a file in the command mode, if there are more than one matching file names, then Vim completes the first matching file name and displays a list of all matching filenames. How do I configure Vim to only display the list of all the matching filenames and not complete the first one?

You can modify the 'wildmode' option to configure the way Vim completes filenames in the command mode. In this case, you can set the 'wildmode' option to 'list': >

:set wildmode=list

< For more information, read:

|'wildmode'|

                        *faq-16.6*

16.6. How do I copy text from a buffer to the command line and from the command line to a buffer?

To copy text from a buffer to the command line, after yanking the text from the buffer, use Ctrl-R 0 in the command line to paste the text. You can also yank the text to a specific register and use CTRL-R to paste the text to the command line. You can use CTRL-R CTRL-W to paste the word under the cursor in the command line.

To copy text from the command line into a buffer, you can paste the contents of the : register using the ":p command. The most recently executed command line is stored in the : register.

Another approach for copying and pasting text to and from the command line is to open the command line window using q: from normal mode or CTRL-F from the command-line mode. In the command line window you can use all the Vim commands to edit the command line.

For more information, read:

|c_CTRL-R|
|quote_:|
|cmdline-window|

                        *faq-16.7*

16.7. How do I put a command onto the command history without executing it?

To put a command onto the command history without executing it, press the key to cancel the command.

An alternative solution, is to use the histadd() function like this: >

:call histadd(':', 'echo strftime("%c")')

< For more information, read:

|c_|
|histadd()|

                        *faq-16.8*

16.8. How do I increase the height of the command-line?

You can increase the height of the command-line by changing the 'cmdheight' option: >

:set cmdheight=2

< For more information, read:

|'cmdheight'|
|hit-enter|
|05.7|

============================================================================= faq-17 SECTION 17 - VIMINFO ~

                            *faq-17.1*

17.1. When I invoke Vim, I get error messages about illegal characters in the viminfo file. What should I do to get rid of these messages?

You can remove the $HOME/.viminfo or the $HOME/_viminfo file to get rid of these error messages.

For more information, read:

|viminfo-errors|
|viminfo-file-name|
|viminfo|
|21.3|

                        *faq-17.2*

17.2. How do I disable the viminfo feature?

By default, the viminfo feature is disabled. If the viminfo feature is enabled by a system-wide vimrc file, then you can disable the viminfo feature by setting the 'viminfo' option to an empty string in your local .vimrc file: >

:set viminfo=""

< For more information, read:

|'viminfo'|

                        *faq-17.3*

17.3. How do I save and use Vim marks/commands across Vim sessions?

You can save and restore Vim marks across Vim sessions using the viminfo file. To use the viminfo file, make sure the 'viminfo' option is not empty. To save and restore Vim marks, the 'viminfo' option should not contain the 'f' flag or should have a value greater than zero for the 'f' option.

You can also use the viminfo file to synchronize the commandline history across different sessions using :wvimfo and :rviminfo commands together with the FocusGained and FocusLost autocommands: >

augroup viminfo
    au!
    au FocusLost   * wviminfo
    au FocusGained * rviminfo
augroup end

< Note, this will only work reliably, when Vim can detect the FocusLost and FocusGained autocommands correctly. This means it should work with GVim but might depend on your terminal for konsole vim.

For more information, read:

|21.3|
|viminfo|
|'viminfo'|
|:wviminfo|
|:rviminfo|
|FocusLost|
|FocusGained|

============================================================================= faq-18 SECTION 18 - REMOTE EDITING ~

                            *faq-18.1*

18.1. How do I open a file with existing instance of gvim? What happened to the Vim 5.x OpenWithVim.exe and SendToVim.exe files?

Starting with Vim6, the OLE version of OpenWithVim.exe and SendToVim.exe Vim utilities are replaced by the new client-server feature. To open the file j.txt with an existing instance of Gvim (MyVim), use: >

$ gvim --servername MyVim --remote-silent j.txt

< To list the server names of all the currently running Vim instances, use >

$ vim --serverlist

< To get more information about client-server feature, read

|client-server|

                        *faq-18.2*

18.2. How do I send a command to a Vim server to write all buffers to disk?

You can use the Vim remote server functionality to do this: >

$ gvim --servername myVIM --remote-send ":wall"

< For more information, read:

|client-server|
|CTRL-\_CTRL-N|
|:wall|

                        *faq-18.3*

18.3. Where can I get the documentation about the Vim remote server functionality?

You can get more information about the Vim remote server functionality by reading

|client-server|

============================================================================= faq-19 SECTION 19 - OPTIONS ~

                            *faq-19.1*

19.1. How do I configure Vim in a simple way?

You can use the ":options" command to open the Vim option window: >

:options

< This window can be used for viewing and setting all the options.

For more information, read:

|:options|

                        *faq-19.2*

19.2. How do I toggle the value of an option?

You can prefix the option with "inv" to toggle the value of the option: >

:set invignorecase
:set invhlsearch

< You can also suffix the option with "!" to toggle the value: >

:set ignorecase!
:set hlsearch!

< For more information, read:

|set-option|

                        *faq-19.3*

19.3. How do I set an option that affects only the current buffer/window?

Some of the Vim options can have a local or global value. A local value applies only to a specific buffer or window. A global value applies to all the buffers or windows.

When a Vim option is modified using the ":set" command, both the global and local values for the option are changed. You can use the ":setlocal" command to modify only the local value for the option and the ":setglobal" command to modify only the global value.

You can use the ":setlocal" command to set an option that will affect only the current file/buffer: >

:setlocal textwidth=70

< Note that not all options can have a local value. You can use ":setlocal" command to set an option locally to a buffer/window only if the option is allowed to have a local value.

You can also use the following command to set an option locally: >

:let &l:{option-name} = 

< For more information, read:

|:setlocal|
|local-options|

                        *faq-19.4*

19.4. How do I use space characters for a Vim option value?

To use space characters in a Vim option value, you have to escape the space character. For example: >

:set tags=tags\ /usr/tags

< For more information, read:

|option-backslash|

                        *faq-19.5*

19.5. Can I add (embed) Vim option settings to the contents of a file?

You can use modelines to add Vim option settings to the contents of a file. For example, in a C file, you can add the following line to the top or the bottom of the file: >

/* vim:sw=4: */

< This will set the 'shiftwidth' option to 4, when editing that C file. For this to work, the 'modeline' option should be set. By default, the 'modeline' option is set. An alternative example is given in this document in the first line.

The 'modelines' settings specifies the number of lines that will be checked for the Vim set commands.

For more information, read:

|21.6|
|modeline|
|auto-setting|
|'modeline'|
|'modelines'|

                        *faq-19.6*

19.6. How do I display the line numbers of all the lines in a file?

You can set the 'number' option to display the line numbers for all the lines. >

:set number

< For more information, read:

|'number'|

                        *faq-19.7*

19.7. How do I change the width of the line numbers displayed using the "number" option?

You can set the minimum number of columns to be used for line numbering by setting the 'numberwidth' option: >

:set numberwidth=3

< This set's the width for the line number to 3 digits, which is enough, if your buffer contains less than 999 lines. However, if your current buffer contains more lines than 999, the 'numberwidth' will be adjusted accordingly, so that the maximum line number will fit on the screen.

                            *faq-19.8*

19.8. How do I display (view) all the invisible characters like space, tabs and newlines in a file?

You can set the 'list' option to see all the invisible characters in your file. >

:set list

< With this option set, you can view space characters, tabs, newlines, trailing space characters and wrapped lines.

To not display the invisible characters (which is the default), you have to reset the 'list' option: >

:set nolist
(or)
:set list!

< The ":set list!" command will toggle the current setting of the boolean 'list' option.

You can modify the 'listchars' option to configure how and which invisible characters are displayed. For example, with the following command all the trailing space characters will be displayed with a '.' character. >

:set listchars=trail:.

< For more information, read:

|'listchars'|
|'list'|

                        *faq-19.9*

19.9. How do I configure Vim to always display the current line and column number?

You can set the 'ruler' option to display current column and line number in the status line: >

:set ruler

< For more information, read:

|'ruler'|

                        *faq-19.10*

19.10. How do I display the current Vim mode?

You can set the 'showmode' option to display the current Vim mode. In Insert, Replace and Visual modes, Vim will display the current mode on the last line. >

:set showmode

< For more information, read:

|'showmode'|

                        *faq-19.11*

19.11. How do I configure Vim to show pending/partial commands on the status line?

You can set the 'showcmd' option to display pending/partial commands in the status line: >

:set showcmd

< For more information, read:

|'showcmd'|

                        *faq-19.12*

19.12. How do I configure the Vim status line to display different settings/values?

You can set the 'statusline' option to display different values/settings in the Vim status line.

For more information, read:

|'statusline'|
|'laststatus'|
|'rulerformat'|
|'ruler'|

                        *faq-19.13*

19.13. How do I configure Vim to display status line always?

You can set the 'laststatus' option to 2 to display the status line always. >

:set laststatus=2

< For more information, read:

|'laststatus'|

                        *faq-19.14*

19.14. How do I make a Vim setting persistent across different Vim invocations/instances/sessions?

To make a Vim option setting persistent across different Vim instances, add your setting to the .vimrc or .gvimrc file. You can also use the ":mkvimrc" command to generate a vimrc file for the current settings.

For more information, read:

|save-settings|
|vimrc|
|gvimrc|
|vimrc-intro|
|:mkvimrc|
|initialization|

                        *faq-19.15*

19.15. Why do I hear a beep (why does my window flash) about 1 second after I hit the Escape key?

This is normal behavior. If your window flashes, then you've got the visual bell on. Otherwise, you should hear a beep.

Vim needs a timeout to tell the difference between a simple escape and, say, a cursor key sequence. When you press a key in normal mode (and even in insert mode) and that key is the beginning of a mapping, Vim waits a certain amount of time to see if the rest of the mapping sequence follows. If the mapping sequence is completed before a given timeout period, the mapping for that sequence of keys is applied. If you interrupt the mapping, the normal actions associated with the keys are executed.

For example, if you have a mapping defined as ":imap vvv Vim is great!!" and you type "vvv" quickly, the "Vim is great!!" will be inserted into your text. But if you type "vv v" then that is what will put into your text. This is also true if you type "vvv" too slowly where "too slowly" is longer than the value for the timeout option. Setting the timeout option to a larger value can help alleviate problems that appear when using function keys over a slow line.

For more information, read:

|'ttimeout'|

                        *faq-19.16*

19.16. How do I make the 'c' and 's' commands display a '$' instead of deleting the characters I'm changing?

To make the 'c' and 's' commands display a '$' instead of deleting the characters, add the $ flag to the 'cpoptions' option: >

:set cpoptions+=$

< For more information, read:

|'cpoptions'|

                        *faq-19.17*

19.17. How do I remove more than one flag using a single ":set" command from a Vim option?

You can remove more than one flag from a Vim option using a single ":set" command, by specifying the flags in exactly the same order as they appear in the option. For example, if you use the following command to remove the 't' and 'n' flags from the 'formatoptions' option: >

:set formatoptions-=tn

< The 't' and 'n' flags will be removed from the 'formatoptions' option, only if the 'formatoptions' option contains these flags in this order: 'tn'. Otherwise, it will not remove the flags. To avoid this problem, you can remove the flags one by one: >

:set formatoptions-=t formatoptions-=n

< For more information, read:

|:set-=|

============================================================================= faq-20 SECTION 20 - MAPPING KEYS ~

                            *faq-20.1*

20.1. How do I know what a key is mapped to?

To see what a key is mapped to, use the following commands: >

:map 
:map! 

< You can also check the mappings in a particular mode using one of the ":cmap", ":nmap", ":vmap", ":imap", ":omap", etc commands.

To find out, where the key has been mapped, prefix the :verbose command: >

:verbose :map 

< For more information, read:

|map-listing|
|map-overview|

                        *faq-20.2*

20.2. How do I list all the user-defined key mappings?

You can list all the user-defined key mappings using: >

:map

< For more information, read:

|map-listing|

                        *faq-20.3*

20.3. How do I unmap a previously mapped key?

You can unmap a previously mapped key using the ":unmap" command: >

:unmap 
:unmap! 

< For mode specific mappings, you can use one of the ":nunmap/:vunmap/:ounmap/:iunmap/:lunmap/:cunmap" commands.

The following command will fail to unmap a buffer-local mapped key: >

:unmap 

< To unmap a buffer-local mapped key, you have to use the keyword in the unmap command: >

:unmap  
:unmap!  

< For more information, read:

|:unmap|
|map-modes|
|:map-local|
|mapleader|

                        *faq-20.4*

20.4. I am not able to create a mapping for the key. What is wrong?

1) First make sure, the key is passed correctly to Vim. To determine if this is the case, put Vim in Insert mode and then hit Ctrl-V (or Ctrl-Q if your Ctrl-V is remapped to the paste operation (e.g. on Windows if you are using the mswin.vim script file) followed by your key.

If nothing appears in the buffer (and assuming that you have 'showcmd' on, ^V remains displayed near the bottom right of the Vim screen), then Vim doesn't get your key correctly and there is nothing to be done, other than selecting a different key for your mapping or using GVim, which should recognise the key correctly.

2) Possibly, Vim gets your key, but sees it as no different than something else. Say you want to map Ctrl-Right, then in Insert mode hit Ctrl-K followed by Ctrl-Right. If Vim displays it has correctly seen the keystroke and you should be able to map it (by using as your {lhs}). If it displays it has seen the keystroke but as if you hadn't held Ctrl down: this means your temrinal passes Ctrl-Right as if it were just . Anything else means the key has been misidentified.

3) If the key is seen, but not as itself and not as some recognizable key, then there is probably an error in the terminal library for the current terminal (termcap or terminfo database). In that case >

    :set term?

< will tell you which termcap or terminfo Vim is using. You can try to tell vim, what termcode to use in that terminal, by adding the following to your vimrc: >

    if &term == 
        set =
    endif

< where above should be replaced by the value of 'term' (with quotes around it) and by what you get when hitting Ctrl-V followed by Ctrl-Right in Insert mode (with nothing around it). should be left as-is (9 characters). Don't forget that in a :set command, white space is not allowed between the equal sign and the value, and any space, double quote, vertical bar or backslash present as part of the value must be backslash-escaped.

Now you should be able to see the keycode corresponding to the key and you can create a mapping for the key using the following command: >

    :map   

< For more information, read:

|map-keys-fails|
|:map-special-keys|
|key-codes|

                        *faq-20.5*

20.5. Why does mapping the key not work?

The only Ctrl-printable-key chords which Vim can reliably detect (because they are defined in the ASCII standard) are the following: >

    [email protected]                 0x00            NUL
    Ctrl-A to Ctrl-Z       0x01 to 0x1A
    Ctrl-a to Ctrl-z       0x01 to 0x1A
    Ctrl-[                 0x1B            ESC
    Ctrl-\                 0x1C
    Ctrl-]                 0x1D
    Ctrl-^                 0x1E
    Ctrl-_                 0x1F
    Ctrl-?                 0x7F            DEL

< Most of these, however, already have a function in Vim (and some are aliases of other keys: Ctrl-H and Bsp, Ctrl-I and Tab, Ctrl-M and Enter, Ctrl-[ and Esc, Ctrl-? and Del).

The "safest" keys to use in Vim for the {lhs} of a mapping are the F keys, with or without Shift: to and to . (Some OSes, including mine, intercept Ctrl-Fn and Alt-Fn, which never reach an application program such as vim or gvim).

You can try other combinations of Ctrl + any key, but they may either not work everywhere (e.g. the terminal might not pass that key to Vim, or they might have unintended side effects (e.g. mapping means also to map ).

This is a known issue, that has been discussed and might be implemented in the future to enable Vim to distinguish between various keys even in console mode. (e.g. https://groups.google.com/d/msg/vim_dev/2bp9UdfZ63M/sajb9KM0pNYJ)

                            *faq-20.6*

20.6. How do I map the numeric keypad keys?

First make sure that the numeric keypad keys are passed to Vim. Next, you can use the following command to map the numeric keypad keys: >

:map   

< where, can be kHome, kEnd, kPageUp, kPageDown, kPlus, kMinus, kDivide, kMultiply, kEnter, etc.

For more information, read:

|key-codes|
|terminal-options|

                        *faq-20.7*

20.7. How do I create a mapping that works only in visual mode?

You can create mappings that work only in specific modes (normal, command, insert, visual, etc). To create a mapping that works only in the visual mode, use the ":vmap" command: >

:vmap  

< This mapping will work in visual and select mode. If you want the map to work only in visual mode (excluding select mode), use:

:xmap  

< and to have the mapping only work in select mode (but not visual mode), use: >

:smap  

< For more information, read:

|:vmap|
|:xmap|
|:smap|
|map-modes|
|40.1|

                        *faq-20.8*

20.8. How do I create a mapping that works only in normal and operator pending mode (but not in visual mode)?

Using ":map" creates a mapping that works in normal, visual+select mode and operator pending mode. You can use ":nmap" to have the mapping only work in normal mode and ":vmap" to have the mapping only be defined for visual and select mode or use ":omap" to have the mapping only defined in operator pending mode.

But if you want to have a mapping defined, that works in both operator pending mode and normal mode, but not in visual and select mode, you need to first define the mapping using ":map" and afterwards delete the mapping for visual and select mode:

:map  
:vunmap 

                        *faq-20.9*

20.9. In a Vim script, how do I know which keys to use for my mappings, so that the mapped key will not collide with an already used key?

Vim uses most of the keys in the keyboard. You can use the prefix in maps to define keys which will not overlap with Vim keys. For example: >

:map S s
:map j j
:map k k

< where by default gets substituted with a backslash (), so the user would enter >

    \s
    \j
    \k

< to invoke the above map commands. The user can change the mapleader variable to be whatever they wanted: >

:let mapleader = ","

< When writing a plugin or other script, more often than not, it is advisable to use :noremap instead of :map to avoid side effects from user defined mappings.

For more information, read:

||
||
|write-plugin|

                        *faq-20.10*

20.10. How do I map the escape key?

You can map the Escape key to some other key using the ":map" command. For example, the following command maps the escape key to CTRL-O. >

:map  

< faq-20.11 20.11. How do I map a key to perform nothing?

You can map a key to to perform nothing when the key is pressed. For example, with the following mappings, the key will do nothing when pressed. >

:map  
:map!  

< For more information, read:

||
|:map|
|:map!|
|map-modes|

                        *faq-20.12*

20.12. I want to use the Tab key to indent a block of text and Shift-Tab key to unindent a block of text. How do I map the keys to do this? This behavior is similar to textpad, visual studio, etc.

Use the following mapping: >

:inoremap  
:nnoremap  >>
:nnoremap  
:vnoremap  >
:vnoremap  

< Note, that the mapping will work only if Vim receives the correct key sequence. This is mostly the case with GUI Vim.

For more information, read:

|:inoremap|
|:nnoremap|
|:vnoremap|
||
|i_CTRL-O|
|>>|
|<|

                        *faq-20.13*

20.13. In my mappings the special characters like are not recognized. How can I configure Vim to recognize special characters?

Check the value of the 'cpoptions' option: >

:set cpoptions?

< If this option contains the '<' flag, then special characters will not be recognized in mappings. Remove the '<' flag from 'cpoptions' option: >

:set cpo-=<

< Also, check the value of the 'compatible' option: >

:set compatible?

< The 'compatible' option must be reset: >

:set nocompatible

< For more information, read:

|'cpoptions'|
|'compatible'|

                        *faq-20.14*

20.14. How do I use the '|' to separate multiple commands in a map?

You can escape the '|' character using backslash () to use '|' in a map. >

:map _l :!ls \| more

< You can also try the following command: >

:map _l :!ls  more

< There are also other ways to do this.

For more information, read:

|map_bar|

                        *faq-20.15*

20.15. If I have a mapping/abbreviation whose ending is the beginning of another mapping/abbreviation, how do I keep the first from expanding into the second one?

Instead of using the ":map lhs rhs" command, use the ":noremap lhs rhs" command. For abbreviations, use "noreabbrev lhs rhs". The "nore" prefix prevents the mapping or abbreviation from being expanded again.

For more information, read:

|:noremap|
|:noreabbrev|

                        *faq-20.16*

20.16. Why does it take a second or more for Vim to process a key, sometimes when I press a key?

Make sure you have not defined a mapping for this key using the following command: >

:map 

< If a mapping is defined for this key and the mapped key contains more than one character, then Vim will wait for the next character to be pressed to determine whether it is the mapped key or not. For example, if you have mapped "ab", then if you press "a", Vim will wait for the next key to be pressed. If the next key is "b", Vim will execute the mapped sequence. Otherwise, Vim will proceed with the normal processing of "a" followed by the next key. If the 'timeout' option is set (which is the default), then Vim will timeout after waiting for the period specified with the 'timeoutlen' option (default is 1 second).

For more information, read:

|map-typing|
|'timeoutlen'|
|'ttimeoutlen'|
|'timeout'|
|'ttimeout'|
|vt100-cursor-keys|
|slow-fast-terminal|

                        *faq-20.17*

20.17. How do I map a key to run an external command using a visually selected text?

You can the ":vmap" command to map a key in the visual mode. In the mapped command sequence, you have to first yank the text. The yanked text is available in the '"' register. Now, you can use the contents of this register to run the external command. For example, to run the external command "perldoc" on a visually selected text, you can use the following mapping: >

:vmap  y:!exec "!perldoc '" . @" . "'"

< If you want the mapping to work in the visual mode, but not with the highlighted text, you can use the following command: >

:vmap  :!perldoc 

< The above mapping will use the word under the cursor instead of the highlighted text. Note the use of the before invoking the "perldoc" external command. The is used to erase the range of text selected in the visual mode and displayed on the command line. If the visual range is not removed using , then the output from the external command will replace the visually selected text.

For more information, read:

|:vmap|
|quote_quote|
|:let-register|
|c_CTRL-U|
|:!cmd|

                        *faq-20.18*

20.18. How do I map the Ctrl-I key while still retaining the functionality of the key?

The Ctrl-I key and the key produce the same keycode, so Vim cannot distinguish between the Ctrl-I and the key. When you map the Ctrl-I key, the key is also mapped (and vice versa). The same restriction applies for the Ctrl-[ key and the key.

For more information, read:

|keycodes|

                        *faq-20.19*

20.19. How do I define a map to accept a count?

Use the @= command to use an expression. For example, >

nnoremap = @='3l'

< Now you can specify a count to the '=' command.

|complex-repeat|

                        *faq-20.20*

20.20. How can I make my normal mode mapping work from within Insert Mode?

Mappings in normal mode can be executed after from insert mode as well but if there are more commands included in the mapping {rhs}, only the first one will be executed in normal mode and the rest of {rhs} will be printed literally in insert mode. One of ways to workaround this problem is to make {rhs} be one command, via wrapping it to the function. For example: >

function GetFontNameOfFirstChar()
normal! 0
echo getfontname()
endfunction

< :nmap :call GetFontNameOfFirstChar()

A more technical and detailed solution to this problem follows and can be found at https://groups.google.com/group/vim_dev/msg/75f1f2dfc00908bb

Not every normal mode-mapping is automatically suitable for execution via from within insert mode; you need to explicitly design your mappings for that purpose.

The command allows execution of one normal mode command from within insert mode, then returns to insert mode. If a normal mode mapping concatenates multiple normal mode commands, this breaks down in temporary normal mode and literally inserts the second part of the command into the buffer instead. To support execution of normal mode mappings from within insert mode, these strategies can be used:

1) Instead of concatenating multiple normal mode commands, use one :normal mapping: >

:nnoremap  zC :normal! zCVzC

< 2) Concatenate multiple Ex commands via on the rhs: >

:nnoremap zC :call MyMap1()call MyMap2()

< 3) Shadow normal mode mappings by insert mode mappings that re-enter normal mode, then invoke the normal mode mapping: >

:nnoremap  MyMap2 :call MyMap2()
:inoremap  

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