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Vim is a lightweight keyboard driven editor. It's the road to fly over the keyboard as it increases productivity and usability.

If you doubt between learning emacs or vim, go with emacs with spacemacs

I am a power vim user for more than 10 years, and seeing what my friends do with emacs, I suggest you to learn it while keeping the vim movement.

Spacemacs is a preconfigured Emacs with those bindings and a lot of more stuff, but it's a good way to start.

Vi vs Vim vs Neovim

TL;DR: Use Neovim

Small comparison:

  • Vi
  • Follows the Single Unix Specification and POSIX.
  • Original code written by Bill Joy in 1976.
  • BSD license.
  • Doesn't even have a git repository -.-.

  • Vim

  • Written by Bram Moolenaar in 1991.
  • Vim is free and open source software, license is compatible with the GNU General Public License.
  • C: 47.6 %, Vim Script: 44.8%, Roff 1.9%, Makefile 1.7%, C++ 1.2%
  • Commits: 7120, Branch: 1, Releases: 5639, Contributor: 1
  • Lines: 1.295.837

  • Neovim

  • Written by the community from 2014
  • Published under the Apache 2.0 license
  • Commits: 7994, Branch 1, Releases: 9, Contributors: 303
  • Vim script: 46.9%, C:38.9%, Lua 11.3%, Python 0.9%, C++ 0.6%
  • Lines: 937.508 (27.65% less code than vim)
  • Refactor: Simplify maintenance and encourage contributions
  • Easy update, just symlinks
  • Ahead of vim, new features inserted in Vim 8.0 (async)

Neovim is a refactor of Vim to make it viable for another 30 years of hacking.

Neovim very intentionally builds on the long history of Vim community knowledge and user habits. That means “switching” from Vim to Neovim is just an “upgrade”.

From the start, one of Neovim’s explicit goals has been simplify maintenance and encourage contributions. By building a codebase and community that enables experimentation and low-cost trials of new features..

And there’s evidence of real progress towards that ambition. We’ve successfully executed non-trivial “off-the-roadmap” patches: features which are important to their authors, but not the highest priority for the project.

These patches were included because they:

  • Fit into existing conventions/design.
  • Included robust test coverage (enabled by an advanced test framework and CI).
  • Received thoughtful review by other contributors.


In order to reduce the amount of typing and fix common typos, I use the Vim abbreviations support. Those are split into two files, ~/.vim/abbreviations.vim for abbreviations that can be used in every type of format and ~/.vim/markdown-abbreviations.vim for the ones that can interfere with programming typing.

Those files are sourced in my .vimrc

" Abbreviations
source ~/.vim/abbreviations.vim
autocmd BufNewFile,BufReadPost *.md source ~/.vim/markdown-abbreviations.vim

To avoid getting worse in grammar, I don't add abbreviations for words that I doubt their spelling or that I usually mistake. Instead I use it for common typos such as teh.

The process has it's inconveniences:

  • You need different abbreviations for the capitalized versions, so you'd need two abbreviations for iab cant can't and iab Cant Can't
  • It's not user friendly to add new words, as you need to open a file.

The Vim Abolish plugin solves that. For example:

" Typing the following:
Abolish seperate separate

" Is equivalent to:
iabbrev seperate separate
iabbrev Seperate Separate

Or create more complex rules, were each {} gets captured and expanded with different caps

:Abolish {despa,sepe}rat{e,es,ed,ing,ely,ion,ions,or}  {despe,sepa}rat{}

With a bang (:Abolish!) the abbreviation is also appended to the file in g:abolish_save_file. By default after/plugin/abolish.vim which is loaded by default.

Typing :Abolish! im I'm will append the following to the end of this file:

Abolish im I'm

To make it quicker I've added a mapping for <leader>s.

nnoremap <leader>s :Abolish!<Space>

Check the README for more details.


Abbreviations with dashes or if you only want the first letter in capital need to be specified with the first letter in capital letters as stated in this issue.

Abolish knobas knowledge-based
Abolish w what

Will yield KnowledgeBased if invoked with Knobas, and WHAT if invoked with W. Therefore the following definitions are preferred:

Abolish Knobas Knowledge-based
Abolish W What

Auto complete prose text

Tools like YouCompleteMe allow you to auto complete variables and functions. If you want the same functionality for prose, you need to enable it for markdown and text, as it's disabled by default.

let g:ycm_filetype_blacklist = {
      \ 'tagbar' : 1,
      \ 'qf' : 1,
      \ 'notes' : 1,
      \ 'unite' : 1,
      \ 'vimwiki' : 1,
      \ 'pandoc' : 1,
      \ 'infolog' : 1

When writing prose you don't need all possible suggestions, as navigating the options is slower than keep on typing. So I'm limiting the results just to one, to avoid unnecessary distractions.

" Limit the results for markdown files to 1
au FileType markdown let g:ycm_max_num_candidates = 1
au FileType markdown let g:ycm_max_num_identifier_candidates = 1

Find synonyms

Sometimes the prose linters tell you that a word is wordy or too complex, or you may be repeating a word too much. The thesaurus query plugin allows you to search synonyms of the word under the cursor. Assuming you use Vundle, add the following lines to your config.

File: ~/.vimrc

Plugin 'ron89/thesaurus_query.vim'

" Thesaurus
let g:tq_enabled_backends=["mthesaur_txt"]
let g:tq_mthesaur_file="~/.vim/thesaurus"
nnoremap <leader>r :ThesaurusQueryReplaceCurrentWord<CR>
inoremap <leader>r <esc>:ThesaurusQueryReplaceCurrentWord<CR>

Run :PluginInstall and download the thesaurus text from

Next time you find a word like therefore you can press :ThesaurusQueryReplaceCurrentWord and you'll get a window with the following:

In line: ... therefore ...
Candidates for therefore, found by backend: mthesaur_txt
Synonyms: (0)accordingly (1)according to circumstances (2)and so (3)appropriately (4)as a consequence
          (5)as a result (6)as it is (7)as matters stand (8)at that rate (9)because of that (10)because of this
          (11)compliantly (12)conformably (13)consequently (14)equally (15)ergo (16)finally (17)for that
          (18)for that cause (19)for that reason (20)for this cause (21)for this reason (22)for which reason
          (23)hence (24)hereat (25)in that case (26)in that event (27)inconsequence (28)inevitably
          (29)it follows that (30)naturally (31)naturellement (32)necessarily (33)of course (34)of necessity
          (35)on that account (36)on that ground (37)on this account (38)propter hoc (39)suitably
          (40)that being so (41)then (42)thence (43)thereat (44)therefor (45)thus (46)thusly (47)thuswise
          (48)under the circumstances (49)whence (50)wherefore (51)wherefrom
Type number and <Enter> (empty cancels; 'n': use next backend; 'p' use previous backend):

If for example you type 45 and hit enter, it will change it for thus.

Keep foldings

When running fixers usually the foldings go to hell. To keep the foldings add the following snippet to your vimrc file

augroup remember_folds
  autocmd BufLeave * mkview
  autocmd BufEnter * silent! loadview
augroup END

Python folding done right

Folding Python in Vim is not easy, the python-mode plugin doesn't do it for me by default and after fighting with it for 2 hours...

SimpylFold does the trick just fine.

Delete a file inside vim

:call delete(expand('%')) | bdelete!

You can make a function so it's easier to remember

function! Rm()
  call delete(expand('%')) | bdelete!

Now you need to run :call Rm().


Vimrc tweaking


  • vim golf
  • Vim game tutorial: very funny and challenging, buuuuut at lvl 3 you have to pay :(.
  • PacVim: Pacman like vim game to learn.
  • Vimgenius: Increase your speed and improve your muscle memory with Vim Genius, a timed flashcard-style game designed to make you faster in Vim. It’s free and you don’t need to sign up. What are you waiting for?
  • Openvim: Interactive tutorial for vim.

Last update: 2022-02-03