4/10/2016 - 10:03 PM

Vim shortcuts

Vim shortcuts


  • C-a == Ctrl-a
  • M-a == Alt-a


:q        close
:w        write/saves
:wa[!]    write/save all windows [force]
:wq       write/save and close
:x        save and quit, same as wq
:q!       force close if file has changed and not save changes
v        Enter visual mode for selection of LINES
C-v      Enter visual mode for selection of BLOCKS
y        Yank/copy selected region
yy       Yank/copy entire line
"<reg>y  Yank/copy marked region into register <reg> (register from a-z)
c        Cut selection
p        Paste yanked content
"<reg>p  Paste yanked content in register <reg> (from a-z)
P        Paste yanked content BEFORE
u        Undo
C-r      Redo
:!<cmd>  Execute shell command <cmd>
C-z      send vim to background (fg brings it to front again)


C-ws     Split current window horizontally (alternative :split)
C-wv     Split current window vertically (alternative :vsplit)
C-ww     Jump to the next window
C-wARROW Jump to window left/right/top/bottom (arrow keys) to the current
C-w#<    Shrink/resize current window from the right by # (default 1) 
C-w#>    Increase/resize current window to the right by # (default 1) 

Entering insert mode

a        Append text after the cursor
A        Append text at the end of the line
i        Insert text before the cursor
I        Insert text before the first non-blank in the line
o        Begin a new line BELOW the cursor and insert text
O        Begin a new line ABOVE the cursor and insert text 
s        Erase the current letter under the cursor, set insert-mode
S        Erase the whole line, set insert-mode
cc       Delete the current line, set insert-mode
cw       Delete word, set insert-mode
dd       Delete line under curser


Vim has 26 registers (a-z), select the one you want to record in, see below. Exit Record mode with ESC

q[a-z]   Start recording, everything will be recorded including movement actions.
@[a-z]   Execute the recorded actions.    

Spell checking

See vimcast #19 as an introduction:

Assuming that you have the following in .vimrc:

nnoremap <silent> <leader>s :set spell!<cr>
<leader>s Toggle Spelling
]s       Next spelling mistake
[s       Previous spelling mistake
z=       Give Suggestions (prepent 1, use first suggestions automatically)
zg       Add misspelled to spellfile
zug      Remove word from spellfile




h        cursor left
j        cursor down
l        cursor right
k        cursor up
H        Jump to TOP of screen
M        Jump to MIDDLE of screen
L        Jump to BOTTOM of screen
C-b      Move back one full screen (page up)
C-f      Move forward one full screen (page down)
C-d      Move forward 1/2 screen; half page down
C-u      Move back (up) 1/2 screen; half page up
w        jump by start of words (punctuation considered words)
e        jump to end of words (punctuation considered words)
b        jump backward by words (punctuation considered words)
0 (zero) start of line
^        first non-blank character of line
$        end of line
G        bottom of file
gg       top of file

good to know

E        jump to end of words (no punctuation)
W        jump by words (spaces separate words)
B        jump backward by words (no punctuation)
#G       goto line #
#gg      goto line #

Search, jump

consider consulting :help [ and :help g

*        search for word under cursor (forward) and highlight occurrence (see incsearch, hlsearch below)
%        jump from open/close ( / #if / ( / { to corresponding ) / #endif / } 
[{       jump to start of current code block
]}       jump to end of current code block
gd       jump to var declaration (see incsearch, hlsearch below)
f<c>     Find char <c> from current cursor position -- forwards
F<c>     Find char <c> from current cursor position -- backwards
,        Repeat previous f<c> or F<c> in opposite direction
;        Repeat previous f<c> or F<c> in same direction
'.       jump back to last edited line.
g;       jump back to last edited position.
[m       jump to start of funtion body
[i       show first declartion/use of the word under cursor
[I       show all occurrences of word under cursor in current file
[/       cursor to N previous start of a C comment

vimgrep and quickfix list

built-in grep, vimgrep uses vim's quickfix list. see vimcasts#44 for introduction:

:vimgrep /<regex>/g %        Search for <regex> with multiple occasions per line (g) 
                             in current file (%)
:vimgrep /<C-r>// %          On the command line, <C-r>/ (that is: CTRL-R followed by /) 
                             will insert the last search pattern.  
:vimgrep /<a>/g <filelist>   Search in the given files (<filelist>) 
:vimgrep /<a>/g *.cc         Search in all *.cc files current directory
:vimgrep /<a>/g **/*.cc      Search in all *.cc files in every sub-directory (recursively) 
:vimgrep /<a>/g `find . -type f`     
                             Search in all files that are returns by the backtick command.

:vim     short for :vimgrep

:cnext   Jump to next record/match in quickfix list
:cprev   Jump to previous record/match in quickfix list

Unimpaired plugin ( provides the following mappings:

[q       see :cprev
]q       see :cnext
[Q       see :cfirst
]Q       see :clast

see also: and


Mark a position in a buffer and jump back to it. see also

ma       set mark a at current cursor location
'a       jump to line of mark a (first non-blank character in line)
`a       jump to position (line and column) of mark a
d'a      delete from current line to line of mark a
d`a      delete from current cursor position to position of mark a
c'a      change text from current line to line of mark a
y`a      yank text to unnamed buffer from cursor to position of mark a
:marks   list all the current marks
:marks aB list marks a, B

(text is copied from link above)


x        Delete char UNDER cursor
X        Delete char BEFORE cursor
#x       Delete the next # chars. starting from char under cursor
dw       Delete next word
dW       Delete UP TO the next word
d^       Delete up unto the beginning of the line
d$       Delete until end of the line 
D        See d$, delete until end of the line  
dd       Delete whole line
dib      Delete contents in parenthesis '(' ')' block (e.g. function args)
diB      Delete inner '{' '}' block
daB      Delete a '{' '}' block
das      Delete a senctence
diw      Delete word under cursor
df<c>    Delete until next occurence of <c> (char) found (including <c>) [in single line]
dt<c>    Delete until next occurence of <c> (char) found (without <c>!!!) [in single line]

ciw      Change word under cursor 
ciB      Change inner '{' '}' block
cf<c>    See "df<c>" but change instead of delete
ct<c>    See "dt<c>" but change instead of delete

#J       Merge # number of lines together
gq       (in visual-mode) format selected text according to line-width
gqq      format current line according to line-width
#gqq     format next #-lines  
C-n      Keyword completion
Tab      Keyword completion (SuperTab plugin)
r<c>     Replace char <c>
#r<c>    Replace follow # chars with <c>, : csock, cursor on s, 3re ceeek
:s/xxx/yyy/    Replace xxx with yyy at the first occurrence
:s/xxx/yyy/g   Replace xxx with yyy first occurrence, global (whole sentence)
:s/xxx/yyy/gc  Replace xxx with yyy global with confirm
:%s/xxx/yyy/g  Replace xxx with yyy global in the whole file
u        Convert selection (visual mode) to lowercase
U        Convert selection (visual mode) to uppercase
:g/^#/d  Delete all lines that begins with #
:g/^$/d  Delete all lines that are empty


ga       Show ASCII of char under cursor

Key sequences

Replace a word in a number of occurrences with 'bar'; use word under cursor (* or /foo)

* cw bar ESC n .

*     word under cursor 'foo'
cw    change word (enter insert mode)
bar   typed new word 'bar'
ESC   exit insert mode
n     next occurrence
.     repeat previous command 

Insert 3 times "Help!": Help! Help! Help!

3i Help!_ ESC

Insert previously yanked text in line after current


Search for selected text

<select> y / C-r0

<select> Select text in VISUAL mode (v)
y        Yank selection
/        Search for
C-r0     Press Ctrl-R and 0 to paste in

Comment out selection

C-v <select> # ESC ESC

C-v   Enter VISUAL block mode
<sel> Select lines
#     Comment char for programming language (perl, python, bash, etc)
ESC   Exit
ESC   Completes adding comment char for previous selected block


auto correction of frequently misspelled words.

:abbr Lunix Linux
:abbr accross across
:abbr hte the


  • If you set the incsearch option, Vim will show the first match for the pattern, while you are still typing it. This quickly shows a typo in the pattern.
  • If you set the hlsearch option, Vim will highlight all matches for the pattern with a yellow background. This gives a quick overview of where the search command will take you. In program code it can show where a variable is used. You don't even have to move the cursor to see the matches.


F3       Toogle NERD-Tree visible 


C-p      Open ctrlp window (alternative :CtrlP)
:CtrlP d Open CtrlP with specific d = directory
C-b      Change mode: mru (most recent used) | buffers | files


Use gq (see Editing section) for formating lines according to configured line-width. For C++ formating using clang-format see


Cheat sheets


tipps and tricks


  • NERDTree
  • NERDCommenter
  • Ctrl-P
  • easytags
  • unimpard
  • supertab
  • tagbar
  • omnicomplete (C++)


  • zenburn
  • tango

Color column

:set colorcolumn=81
highlight ColorColumn ctermbg=8