Vimtutor Chapter Summaries


So I decided to finally learn all the basic commands of Vim, and some research showed that completing the in built vim tutor is the best way. It takes roughly 30 minutes, and I recommend everyone who wishes to learn Vim to follow the Vimtutor everyday for 30 days.

In this post I will just yank and paste the summaries from the Vimtutor for future reference.

Lesson 1

  1. The cursor is moved using either the arrow keys or the hjkl keys. h (left) j (down) k (up) l (right)
  2. To start Vim from the shell prompt type: vim FILENAME ENTER
  3. To exit Vim type: ESC :q! ENTER to trash all changes OR type: ESC :wq ENTER to save the changes.
  4. To delete the character at the cursor type: x
  5. To insert or append text type: i type inserted text ESC insert before the cursor A type appended text ESC append after the line

NOTE: Pressing ESC will place you in Normal mode or will cancel an unwanted and partially completed command.

Lesson 2

  1. To delete from the cursor up to the next word type: dw
  2. To delete from the cursor to the end of a line type: d$
  3. To delete a whole line type: dd
  4. To repeat a motion prepend it with a number: 2w
  5. The format for a change command is: operator number motion where:
    • operator – is what to do, such as d for delete
    • number – is an optional count to repeat the motion
    • motion – moves over the text to operate on, such as w (word), $ (to the end of line), etc.
  6. To move to the start of the line use a zero: 0
  7. Undo commands:
    • To undo previous actions, type: u (lowercase u)
    • To undo all the changes on a line, type: U (capital U)
    • To undo the undo’s, type: CTRL-R

Lesson 3

  1. To put back text that has just been deleted, type p . This puts the deleted text AFTER the cursor (if a line was deleted it will go on the line below the cursor).
  2. To replace the character under the cursor, type r and then the character you want to have there.
  3. The change operator allows you to change from the cursor to where the motion takes you. eg. Type ce to change from the cursor to the end of the word, c$ to change to the end of a line.
  4. The format for change is: c number motion

Lesson 4

  1. CTRL-G displays your location in the file and the file status.
    • G moves to the end of the file.
    • number G moves to that line number.
    • gg moves to the first line.
  2. Typing / followed by a phrase searches FORWARD for the phrase.
    • Typing ? followed by a phrase searches BACKWARD for the phrase.
    • After a search type n to find the next occurrence in the same direction or N to search in the opposite direction.
    • CTRL-O takes you back to older positions, CTRL-I to newer positions.
  3. Typing % while the cursor is on a bracket it goes to its match.
  4. To substitute new for the first old in a line type :s/old/new
    • To substitute new for all ‘old’s on a line type :s/old/new/g
    • To substitute phrases between two line #’s type :#,#s/old/new/g
    • To substitute all occurrences in the file type :%s/old/new/g
    • To ask for confirmation each time add ‘c’ :%s/old/new/gc

Lesson 5

  1. :!command executes an external command. Some useful examples are: (MS-DOS) (Unix) :!dir :!ls – shows a directory listing. :!del FILENAME :!rm FILENAME – removes file FILENAME.
  2. :w FILENAME writes the current Vim file to disk with name FILENAME.
  3. v motion :w FILENAME saves the Visually selected lines in file FILENAME.
  4. :r FILENAME retrieves disk file FILENAME and puts it below the cursor position.
  5. :r !dir reads the output of the dir command and puts it below the cursor position.

Lesson 6

  1. Type o to open a line BELOW the cursor and start Insert mode. Type O to open a line ABOVE the cursor.
  2. Type a to insert text AFTER the cursor. Type A to insert text after the end of the line.
  3. The e command moves to the end of a word.
  4. The y operator yanks (copies) text, p puts (pastes) it.
  5. Typing a capital R enters Replace mode until ESC is pressed.
  6. Typing “:set xxx” sets the option “xxx”. Some options are:
    • ‘ic’ ‘ignorecase’ ignore upper/lower case when searching
    • ‘is’ ‘incsearch’ show partial matches for a search phrase
    • ‘hls’ ‘hlsearch’ highlight all matching phrases
    • You can either use the long or the short option name.
  7. Prepend “no” to switch an option off: :set noic

Lesson 7

  1. Type :help or press F1 or Help to open a help window.
  2. Type :help cmd to find help on cmd .
  3. Type CTRL-W CTRL-W to jump to another window
  4. Type :q to close the help window
  5. Create a vimrc startup script to keep your preferred settings.
  6. When typing a : command, press CTRL-D to see possible completions. Press TAB to use one completion.
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