Vim Cheatsheet

This site is a reference for the text editor Vim

Last updated on 09 March, 2021 at 13:59:41 Optimized for

Vim is a contaction of Vi IMproved and is a clone of the text-editor Vi but with additions (improvements). It is a highly configurable text-editor with an initial released version seeing the world in 1991. It is mainly designed as a command-line application but also comes in a GUI version.

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Commands written with brackets has two options for invocation, e.g :h[elp] can be invoked with either :h or :help

Global

You can run the command vimtutor in a terminal to learn the first Vim commands.
Command Description
:h[elp] keyword

Open help for keyword

:sav[eas] file

Save file as

:clo[se]

Close current pane

:ter[minal]

Open a terminal window

K

Open man page for word under the cursor

Cursor Movement

Prefix a cursor movement command with a number to repeat it. For example, 4j moves down 4 lines.
Command Description
h

Move cursor left

j

Move cursor down

k

Move cursor up

l

Nove cursor right

H

Move to top of screen

M

Move to middle of screen

L

Move to bottom of screen

w

Jump forwards to the start of a word

W

Jump forwards to the start of a word (words can contain punctuation)

e

Jump forwards to the end of a word

E

Jump forwards to the end of a word (words can contain punctuation)

b

Jump backwards to the start of a word

B

Jump backwards to the start of a word (words can contain punctuation)

%

Move to matching character (default supported pairs: '()', '{}', '[]' - use :h matchpairs in vim for more info)

0

Jump to the start of the line

^

Jump to the first non-blank character of the line

$

Jump to the end of the line

g_

Jump to the last non-blank character of the line

gg

Go to the first line of the document

G

Go to the last line of the document

5gg or 5G

Go to line 5

fx

Jump to next occurrence of character x

tx

Jump to before next occurrence of character x

Fx

Jump to previous occurence of character x

Tx

Jump to after previous occurence of character x

;

Repeat previous f, t, F or T movement

,

Repeat previous f, t, F or T movement, backwards

}

Jump to next paragraph (or function/block, when editing code)

{

Jump to previous paragraph (or function/block, when editing code)

zz

Center cursor on screen

Ctrl + e

Move screen down one line (without moving cursor)

Ctrl + y

Move screen up one line (without moving cursor)

Ctrl + b

Move back one full screen

Ctrl + f

Move forward one full screen

Ctrl + d

Move forward 1/2 a screen

Ctrl + u

Move back 1/2 a screen

Insert mode

Inserting/Appending Text

Command Description
i

Insert before the cursor

I

Insert at the beginning of the line

a

Insert (append) after the cursor

A

Insert (append) at the end of the line

o

Append (open) a new line below the current line

O

Append (open) a new line above the current line

ea

Insert (append) at the end of the word

Ctrl + h

Delete the character before the cursor during insert mode

Ctrl + w

Delete word before the cursor during insert mode

Ctrl + j

Begin new line during insert mode

Ctrl + t

Indent (move right) line one shiftwidth during insert mode

Ctrl + d

De-indent (move left) line one shiftwidth during insert mode

Ctrl + n

Insert (auto-complete) next match before the cursor during insert mode

Ctrl + p

Insert (auto-complete) previous match before the cursor during insert mode

Ctrl + rx

Insert the contents of register x

Esc

Exit insert mode

Editing

Command Description
r

Replace a single character

J

JJoin line below to the current one with one space in between

gJ

Join line below to the current one without space in between

gwip

Reflow paragraph

g~

Switch case up to motion

gu

Change to lowercase up to motion

gU

Change to uppercase up to motion

cc

Change (replace) entire line

C

Change (replace) to the end of the line

c$

Change (replace) to the end of the line

ciw

Change (replace) entire word

cw

Change (replace) to the end of the word

s

Delete character and substitute text

S

Delete line and substitute text (same as cc)

xp

Transpose two letters (delete and paste)

u

Undo

U

Restore (undo) last changed line

Ctrl + r

Redo

.

Repeat last command

Visual Mode

When selecting a block with ab or aB, alternatively you can use ( or {
Command Description
v

Start visual mode, mark lines, then do a command (like y-yank)

V

Start linewise visual mode

o

Move to other end of marked area

Ctrl + v

Start visual block mode

O

Move to other corner of block

aw

Mark a word

ab

A block with ()

aB

A block with {}

at

A block with <> tags

ib

Inner block with ()

iB

Inner block with {}

it

Inner block with <> tags

Esc

Exit visual mode

Visual Commands

Commands applicable in Visual Mode

Command Description
>

Shift text right

<

Shift text left

y

Yank (copy) marked text

d

Delete marked text

~

Switch case

u

Change marked text to lowercase

U

Change marked text to uppercase

Registers

Registers are being stored in ~/.viminfo, and will be loaded again on next restart of vim.
Command Description
:reg[isters]

Show registers content

"xy

Yank into register x

"xp

Paste contents of register x

"+y

Yank into the system clipboard register

"+p

Paste from the system clipboard register

Special Registers

Command Description
0

Last yank

"

Unnamed register, last delete or yank

%

Current file name

#

Alternate file name

*

Clipboard contents (X11 primary)

+

Clipboard contents (X11 clipboard)

/

Last search pattern

:

Last command-line

.

Last inserted text

-

Last small (less than a line) delete

=

Expression register

_

Black hole register

Marks and Positions

Command Description
:marks

List of marks

ma

Set current position for mark A

`a

Jump to position of mark A

y`a

Yank text to position of mark A

`0

Go to the position where Vim was previously exited

`"

Go to the position when last editing this file

`.

Go to the position of the last change in this file

``

Go to the position before the last jump

:ju[mps]

List of jumps

Ctrl + i

Go to newer position in jump list

Ctrl + o

Go to older position in jump list

:changes

List of changes

g,

Go to newer position in change list

g;

Go to older position in change list

Ctrl + ]

Jump to the tag under cursor

Macros

Command Description
qa

Record macro a

q

Stop recording macro

@a

Run macro a

@@

Rerun last run macro

Cut and paste

Command Description
yy

Yank (copy) a line

2yy

Yank (copy) 2 lines

yw

Yank (copy) the characters of the word from the cursor position to the start of the next word

y$

Yank (copy) to end of line

p

Put (paste) the clipboard after cursor

P

Put (paste) before cursor

dd

Delete (cut) a line

2dd

Delete (cut) 2 lines

dw

Delete (cut) the characters of the word from the cursor position to the start of the next word

D

Delete (cut) to the end of the line

d$

Delete (cut) to the end of the line

x

Delete (cut) character

Indent text

Command Description
>>

Indent (move right) line one shiftwidth

<<

De-indent (move left) line one shiftwidth

>%

Indent a block with () or {} (cursor on brace)

>ib

Indent inner block with ()

>at

Indent a block with <> tags

3==

Re-indent 3 lines

=%

Re-indent a block with () or {} (cursor on brace)

=iB

Re-indent inner block with {}

gg=G

Re-indent entire buffer

]p

Paste and adjust indent to current line

Exiting

How to Exit Vim

This section describes how to exit Vim

Command Description
:w

Write (save) the file, but don't exit

:w !sudo tee %

Write out the current file using sudo

:wq or :x or ZZ

Write (save) and quit

:q

Quit (fails if there are unsaved changes)

:q! or ZQ

Quit and throw away unsaved changes

:wqa

Write (save) and quit on all tabs

Search and Replace

Command Description
/pattern

Search for pattern

?pattern

Search backward for pattern

\vpattern

'Very magic' pattern: non-alphanumeric characters are interpreted as special regex symbols (no escaping needed)

n

Repeat search in same direction

N

Repeat search in opposite direction

:%s/old/new/g

Replace all old with new throughout file

:%s/old/new/gc

Replace all old with new throughout file with confirmations

:noh[lsearch]

Remove highlighting of search matches

Search in Multiple Files

Command Description
:vim[grep] /pattern/ {`{file}`}

Search for pattern in multiple files

:cn[ext]

Jump to the next match

:cp[revious]

Jump to the previous match

:cope[n]

Open a window containing the list of matches

:ccl[ose]

Close the quickfix window

Tabs

Command Description
:tabnew or :tabnew {page.words.file}

Open a file in a new tab

Ctrl + wT

Move the current split window into its own tab

gt or :tabn[ext]

Move to the next tab

gT or :tabp[revious]

Move to the previous tab

#gt

Move to tab number #

:tabm[ove] #

Move current tab to the #th position (indexed from 0)

:tabc[lose]

Close the current tab and all its windows

:tabo[nly]

Close all tabs except for the current one

:tabdo

Command - run the command on all tabs (e.g. :tabdo q - closes all opened tabs)

Working with multiple files

Command Description
:e[dit] file

Edit a file in a new buffer

:bn[ext]

Go to the next buffer

:bp[revious]

Go to the previous buffer

:bd[elete]

Delete a buffer (close a file)

:b[uffer]#

Go to a buffer by index #

:b[uffer] file

Go to a buffer by file

:ls or :buffers

List all open buffers

:sp[lit] file

Open a file in a new buffer and split window

:vs[plit] file

Open a file in a new buffer and vertically split window

:vert[ical] ba[ll]

Edit all buffers as vertical windows

:tab ba[ll]

Edit all buffers as tabs

Ctrl + ws

Split window

Ctrl + wv

Split window vertically

Ctrl + ww

Switch windows

Ctrl + wq

Quit a window

Ctrl + wx

Exchange current window with next one

Ctrl + w=

Make all windows equal height & width

Ctrl + wh

Move cursor to the left window (vertical split)

Ctrl + wl

Move cursor to the right window (vertical split)

Ctrl + wj

Move cursor to the window below (horizontal split)

Ctrl + wk

Move cursor to the window above (horizontal split)

Diff

To view the differences of files, one can directly start Vim in diff mode by running vimdiff in a terminal. One can even set this as git difftool.
The commands for folding (e.g. za) operate on one level. To operate on all levels, use uppercase letters (e.g. zA).
Command Description
zf

Manually define a fold up to motion

zd

Delete fold under the cursor

za

Toggle fold under the cursor

zo

Open fold under the cursor

zc

Close fold under the cursor

zr

Reduce (open) all folds by one level

zm

Fold more (close) all folds by one level

zi

Toggle folding functionality

]c

Jump to start of next change

[c

Jump to start of previous change

do or :diffg[et]

Obtain (get) difference (from other buffer)

dp or :diffpu[t]

Put difference (to other buffer)

:diffthis

Make current window part of diff

:dif[fupdate]

Update differences

:diffo[ff]

Switch off diff mode for current window

Online Resources & Books

This Vim cheatsheet is MIT licensed. See original work here.