Mbyte

Nvim :help pages, generated from source using the tree-sitter-vimdoc parser.


Multi-byte support multi-byte Chinese Japanese Korean This is about editing text in languages which have many characters that can not be represented using one byte (one octet). Examples are Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Unicode is also covered here.
For an introduction to the most common features, see usr_45.txt in the user manual. For changing the language of messages and menus see mlang.txt.
This is a summary of the multibyte features in Vim. If you are lucky it works as described and you can start using Vim without much trouble. If something doesn't work you will have to read the rest. Don't be surprised if it takes quite a bit of work and experimenting to make Vim use all the multibyte features. Unfortunately, every system has its own way to deal with multibyte languages and it is quite complicated.
First of all, you must make sure your current locale is set correctly. If your system has been installed to use the language, it probably works right away. If not, you can often make it work by setting the $LANG environment variable in your shell:
setenv LANG ja_JP.EUC
Unfortunately, the name of the locale depends on your system. Japanese might also be called "ja_JP.EUCjp" or just "ja". To see what is currently used:
:language
To change the locale inside Vim use:
:language ja_JP.EUC
Vim will give an error message if this doesn't work. This is a good way to experiment and find the locale name you want to use. But it's always better to set the locale in the shell, so that it is used right from the start.
See mbyte-locale for details.
Nvim always uses UTF-8 internally. Thus 'encoding' option is always set to "utf-8" and cannot be changed.
All the text that is used inside Vim will be in UTF-8. Not only the text in the buffers, but also in registers, variables, etc.
You can edit files in different encodings than UTF-8. Nvim will convert the file when you read it and convert it back when you write it. See 'fileencoding', 'fileencodings' and ++enc.
If you are working in a terminal (emulator) you must make sure it accepts UTF-8, the encoding which Vim is working with. Otherwise only ASCII can be displayed and edited correctly.
For the GUI you must select fonts that work with UTF-8. You can set 'guifont' and 'guifontwide'. 'guifont' is used for the single-width characters, 'guifontwide' for the double-width characters. Thus the 'guifontwide' font must be exactly twice as wide as 'guifont'. Example for UTF-8:
:set guifont=-misc-fixed-medium-r-normal-*-18-120-100-100-c-90-iso10646-1
:set guifontwide=-misc-fixed-medium-r-normal-*-18-120-100-100-c-180-iso10646-1
You can also set 'guifont' alone, the Nvim GUI will try to find a matching 'guifontwide' for you.
There are several ways to enter multibyte characters:
Your system IME can be used.
Keymaps can be used. See mbyte-keymap.
The options 'iminsert', 'imsearch' and 'imcmdline' can be used to choose the different input methods or disable them temporarily.
The easiest setup is when your whole system uses the locale you want to work in. But it's also possible to set the locale for one shell you are working in, or just use a certain locale inside Vim.
WHAT IS A LOCALE? locale
There are many languages in the world. And there are different cultures and environments at least as many as the number of languages. A linguistic environment corresponding to an area is called "locale". This includes information about the used language, the charset, collating order for sorting, date format, currency format and so on. For Vim only the language and charset really matter.
You can only use a locale if your system has support for it. Some systems have only a few locales, especially in the USA. The language which you want to use may not be on your system. In that case you might be able to install it as an extra package. Check your system documentation for how to do that.
The location in which the locales are installed varies from system to system. For example, "/usr/share/locale" or "/usr/lib/locale". See your system's setlocale() man page.
Looking in these directories will show you the exact name of each locale. Mostly upper/lowercase matters, thus "ja_JP.EUC" and "ja_jp.euc" are different. Some systems have a locale.alias file, which allows translation from a short name like "nl" to the full name "nl_NL.ISO_8859-1".
Note that X-windows has its own locale stuff. And unfortunately uses locale names different from what is used elsewhere. This is confusing! For Vim it matters what the setlocale() function uses, which is generally NOT the X-windows stuff. You might have to do some experiments to find out what really works.
locale-name The (simplified) format of locale name is:
language or language_territory or language_territory.codeset
Territory means the country (or part of it), codeset means the charset. For example, the locale name "ja_JP.eucJP" means: ja the language is Japanese JP the country is Japan eucJP the codeset is EUC-JP But it also could be "ja", "ja_JP.EUC", "ja_JP.ujis", etc. And unfortunately, the locale name for a specific language, territory and codeset is not unified and depends on your system.
Examples of locale name: GB2312 Chinese (simplified) zh_CN.EUC, zh_CN.GB2312 Big5 Chinese (traditional) zh_TW.BIG5, zh_TW.Big5 CNS-11643 Chinese (traditional) zh_TW EUC-JP Japanese ja, ja_JP.EUC, ja_JP.ujis, ja_JP.eucJP Shift_JIS Japanese ja_JP.SJIS, ja_JP.Shift_JIS EUC-KR Korean ko, ko_KR.EUC
USING A LOCALE
To start using a locale for the whole system, see the documentation of your system. Mostly you need to set it in a configuration file in "/etc".
To use a locale in a shell, set the $LANG environment value. When you want to use Korean and the locale name is "ko", do this:
sh: export LANG=ko csh: setenv LANG ko
You can put this in your ~/.profile or ~/.cshrc file to always use it.
To use a locale in Vim only, use the :language command:
:language ko
Put this in your init.vim file to use it always.
Or specify $LANG when starting Vim:
sh: LANG=ko vim {vim-arguments} csh: env LANG=ko vim {vim-arguments}
You could make a small shell script for this.
In Nvim UTF-8 is always used internally to encode characters. This applies to all the places where text is used, including buffers (files loaded into memory), registers and variables.
charset codeset Charset is another name for encoding. There are subtle differences, but these don't matter when using Vim. "codeset" is another similar name.
Each character is encoded as one or more bytes. When all characters are encoded with one byte, we call this a single-byte encoding. The most often used one is called "latin1". This limits the number of characters to 256. Some of these are control characters, thus even fewer can be used for text.
When some characters use two or more bytes, we call this a multibyte encoding. This allows using much more than 256 characters, which is required for most East Asian languages.
Most multibyte encodings use one byte for the first 127 characters. These are equal to ASCII, which makes it easy to exchange plain-ASCII text, no matter what language is used. Thus you might see the right text even when the encoding was set wrong.
encoding-names Vim can edit files in different character encodings. There are three major groups:
1 8bit Single-byte encodings, 256 different characters. Mostly used in USA and Europe. Example: ISO-8859-1 (Latin1). All characters occupy one screen cell only.
2 2byte Double-byte encodings, over 10000 different characters. Mostly used in Asian countries. Example: euc-kr (Korean) The number of screen cells is equal to the number of bytes (except for euc-jp when the first byte is 0x8e).
u Unicode Universal encoding, can replace all others. ISO 10646. Millions of different characters. Example: UTF-8. The relation between bytes and screen cells is complex.
Only UTF-8 is used by Vim internally. But files in other encodings can be edited by using conversion, see 'fileencoding'.
Recognized 'fileencoding' values include: encoding-values 1 latin1 8-bit characters (ISO 8859-1, also used for cp1252) 1 iso-8859-n ISO_8859 variant (n = 2 to 15) 1 koi8-r Russian 1 koi8-u Ukrainian 1 macroman MacRoman (Macintosh encoding) 1 8bit-{name} any 8-bit encoding (Vim specific name) 1 cp437 similar to iso-8859-1 1 cp737 similar to iso-8859-7 1 cp775 Baltic 1 cp850 similar to iso-8859-4 1 cp852 similar to iso-8859-1 1 cp855 similar to iso-8859-2 1 cp857 similar to iso-8859-5 1 cp860 similar to iso-8859-9 1 cp861 similar to iso-8859-1 1 cp862 similar to iso-8859-1 1 cp863 similar to iso-8859-8 1 cp865 similar to iso-8859-1 1 cp866 similar to iso-8859-5 1 cp869 similar to iso-8859-7 1 cp874 Thai 1 cp1250 Czech, Polish, etc. 1 cp1251 Cyrillic 1 cp1253 Greek 1 cp1254 Turkish 1 cp1255 Hebrew 1 cp1256 Arabic 1 cp1257 Baltic 1 cp1258 Vietnamese 1 cp{number} MS-Windows: any installed single-byte codepage 2 cp932 Japanese (Windows only) 2 euc-jp Japanese 2 sjis Japanese 2 cp949 Korean 2 euc-kr Korean 2 cp936 simplified Chinese (Windows only) 2 euc-cn simplified Chinese 2 cp950 traditional Chinese (alias for big5) 2 big5 traditional Chinese (alias for cp950) 2 euc-tw traditional Chinese 2 2byte-{name} any double-byte encoding (Vim-specific name) 2 cp{number} MS-Windows: any installed double-byte codepage u utf-8 32 bit UTF-8 encoded Unicode (ISO/IEC 10646-1) u ucs-2 16 bit UCS-2 encoded Unicode (ISO/IEC 10646-1) u ucs-2le like ucs-2, little endian u utf-16 ucs-2 extended with double-words for more characters u utf-16le like utf-16, little endian u ucs-4 32 bit UCS-4 encoded Unicode (ISO/IEC 10646-1) u ucs-4le like ucs-4, little endian
The {name} can be any encoding name that your system supports. It is passed to iconv() to convert between UTF-8 and the encoding of the file. For MS-Windows "cp{number}" means using codepage {number}. Examples:
:set fileencoding=8bit-cp1252
:set fileencoding=2byte-cp932
The MS-Windows codepage 1252 is very similar to latin1. For practical reasons the same encoding is used and it's called latin1. 'isprint' can be used to display the characters 0x80 - 0xA0 or not.
Several aliases can be used, they are translated to one of the names above. Incomplete list:
1 ansi same as latin1 (obsolete, for backward compatibility) 2 japan Japanese: "euc-jp" 2 korea Korean: "euc-kr" 2 prc simplified Chinese: "euc-cn" 2 chinese same as "prc" 2 taiwan traditional Chinese: "euc-tw" u utf8 same as utf-8 u unicode same as ucs-2 u ucs2be same as ucs-2 (big endian) u ucs-2be same as ucs-2 (big endian) u ucs-4be same as ucs-4 (big endian) u utf-32 same as ucs-4 u utf-32le same as ucs-4le default the encoding of the current locale.
For the UCS codes the byte order matters. This is tricky, use UTF-8 whenever you can. The default is to use big-endian (most significant byte comes first): ucs-2 11 22 1122 ucs-2le 22 11 1122 ucs-4 11 22 33 44 11223344 ucs-4le 44 33 22 11 11223344
On MS-Windows systems you often want to use "ucs-2le", because it uses little endian UCS-2.
There are a few encodings which are similar, but not exactly the same. Vim treats them as if they were different encodings, so that conversion will be done when needed. You might want to use the similar name to avoid conversion or when conversion is not possible:
cp932, shift-jis, sjis cp936, euc-cn
Vim will automatically convert from one to another encoding in several places:
When reading a file and 'fileencoding' is different from "utf-8"
When writing a file and 'fileencoding' is different from "utf-8"
When displaying messages and the encoding used for LC_MESSAGES differs from "utf-8" (requires a gettext version that supports this).
When reading a Vim script where :scriptencoding is different from "utf-8". Most of these require iconv. Conversion for reading and writing files may also be specified with the 'charconvert' option.
Useful utilities for converting the charset: All: iconv GNU iconv can convert most encodings. Unicode is used as the intermediate encoding, which allows conversion from and to all other encodings. See https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Libiconv.
mbyte-conversion When reading and writing files in an encoding different from "utf-8", conversion needs to be done. These conversions are supported:
All conversions between Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1), UTF-8, UCS-2 and UCS-4 are handled internally.
For MS-Windows, conversion from and to any codepage should work.
Conversion specified with 'charconvert'
Conversion with the iconv library, if it is available. Old versions of GNU iconv() may cause the conversion to fail (they request a very large buffer, more than Vim is willing to provide). Try getting another iconv() implementation.
When the keyboard doesn't produce the characters you want to enter in your text, you can use the 'keymap' option. This will translate one or more (English) characters to another (non-English) character. This only happens when typing text, not when typing Vim commands. This avoids having to switch between two keyboard settings.
The value of the 'keymap' option specifies a keymap file to use. The name of this file is one of these two:
keymap/{keymap}_utf-8.vim keymap/{keymap}.vim
Here {keymap} is the value of the 'keymap' option. The file name with "utf-8" included is tried first.
'runtimepath' is used to find these files. To see an overview of all available keymap files, use this:
:echo globpath(&rtp, "keymap/*.vim")
In Insert and Command-line mode you can use CTRL-^ to toggle between using the keyboard map or not. i_CTRL-^ c_CTRL-^ This flag is remembered for Insert mode with the 'iminsert' option. When leaving and entering Insert mode the previous value is used. The same value is also used for commands that take a single character argument, like f and r. For Command-line mode the flag is NOT remembered. You are expected to type an Ex command first, which is ASCII. For typing search patterns the 'imsearch' option is used. It can be set to use the same value as for 'iminsert'. lCursor It is possible to give the GUI cursor another color when the language mappings are being used. This is disabled by default, to avoid that the cursor becomes invisible when you use a non-standard background color. Here is an example to use a brightly colored cursor:
:highlight Cursor guifg=NONE guibg=Green
:highlight lCursor guifg=NONE guibg=Cyan
keymap-file-format :loadk :loadkeymap E105 E791 The keymap file looks something like this:
" Maintainer:        name <email@address>
" Last Changed:        2001 Jan 1
let b:keymap_name = "short"
loadkeymap
a        A
b        B        comment
The lines starting with a " are comments and will be ignored. Blank lines are also ignored. The lines with the mappings may have a comment after the useful text.
The "b:keymap_name" can be set to a short name, which will be shown in the status line. The idea is that this takes less room than the value of 'keymap', which might be long to distinguish between different languages, keyboards and encodings.
The actual mappings are in the lines below "loadkeymap". In the example "a" is mapped to "A" and "b" to "B". Thus the first item is mapped to the second item. This is done for each line, until the end of the file. These items are exactly the same as what can be used in a :lmap command, using "<buffer>" to make the mappings local to the buffer. You can check the result with this command:
:lmap
The two items must be separated by white space. You cannot include white space inside an item, use the special names "<Tab>" and "<Space>" instead. The length of the two items together must not exceed 200 bytes.
It's possible to have more than one character in the first column. This works like a dead key. Example:
'a        á
Since Vim doesn't know if the next character after a quote is really an "a", it will wait for the next character. To be able to insert a single quote, also add this line:
''        '
Since the mapping is defined with :lmap the resulting quote will not be used for the start of another character defined in the 'keymap'. It can be used in a standard :imap mapping. The "accents" keymap uses this. keymap-accents
The first column can also be in <> form: <C-c> Ctrl-C <A-c> Alt-c <A-C> Alt-C Note that the Alt mappings may not work, depending on your keyboard and terminal.
Although it's possible to have more than one character in the second column, this is unusual. But you can use various ways to specify the character:
A        a                literal character
A        <char-97>        decimal value
A        <char-0x61>        hexadecimal value
A        <char-0141>        octal value
x        <Space>                special key name
The characters are assumed to be encoded in UTF-8. It's possible to use ":scriptencoding" when all characters are given literally. That doesn't work when using the <char-> construct, because the conversion is done on the keymap file, not on the resulting character.
The lines after "loadkeymap" are interpreted with 'cpoptions' set to "C". This means that continuation lines are not used and a backslash has a special meaning in the mappings. Examples:
" a comment line
\"        x        maps " to x
\\        y        maps \ to y
If you write a keymap file that will be useful for others, consider submitting it to the Vim maintainer for inclusion in the distribution: <[email protected]>
This file explains what characters are available in UTF-8 and CP1255 encodings, and what the keymaps are to get those characters:
א 0x5d0 0xe0 t a ´alef ב 0x5d1 0xe1 c b bet ג 0x5d2 0xe2 d g gimel ד 0x5d3 0xe3 s d dalet ה 0x5d4 0xe4 v h he ו 0x5d5 0xe5 u v vav ז 0x5d6 0xe6 z z zayin ח 0x5d7 0xe7 j j het ט 0x5d8 0xe8 y T tet י 0x5d9 0xe9 h y yod ך 0x5da 0xea l K kaf sofit כ 0x5db 0xeb f k kaf ל 0x5dc 0xec k l lamed ם 0x5dd 0xed o M mem sofit מ 0x5de 0xee n m mem ן 0x5df 0xef i N nun sofit נ 0x5e0 0xf0 b n nun ס 0x5e1 0xf1 x s samech ע 0x5e2 0xf2 g uayin ף 0x5e3 0xf3 ; P pe sofit פ 0x5e4 0xf4 p p pe ץ 0x5e5 0xf5 . X tsadi sofit צ 0x5e6 0xf6 m x tsadi ק 0x5e7 0xf7 e q qof ר 0x5e8 0xf8 r r resh ש 0x5e9 0xf9 a w shin ת 0x5ea 0xfa , t tav
Vowel marks and special punctuation: הְ 0x5b0 0xc0 A: A: sheva הֱ 0x5b1 0xc1 HE HE hataf segol הֲ 0x5b2 0xc2 HA HA hataf patah הֳ 0x5b3 0xc3 HO HO hataf qamats הִ 0x5b4 0xc4 I I hiriq הֵ 0x5b5 0xc5 AY AY tsere הֶ 0x5b6 0xc6 E E segol הַ 0x5b7 0xc7 AA AA patah הָ 0x5b8 0xc8 AO AO qamats הֹ 0x5b9 0xc9 O O holam הֻ 0x5bb 0xcb U U qubuts כּ 0x5bc 0xcc D D dagesh הֽ 0x5bd 0xcd ]T ]T meteg ה־ 0x5be 0xce ]Q ]Q maqaf בֿ 0x5bf 0xcf ]R ]R rafe ב׀ 0x5c0 0xd0 ]p ]p paseq שׁ 0x5c1 0xd1 SR SR shin-dot שׂ 0x5c2 0xd2 SL SL sin-dot ׃ 0x5c3 0xd3 ]P ]P sof-pasuq װ 0x5f0 0xd4 VV VV double-vav ױ 0x5f1 0xd5 VY VY vav-yod ײ 0x5f2 0xd6 YY YY yod-yod
The following are only available in UTF-8
Cantillation marks: glyph Char UTF-8 hebrew name ב֑ 0x591 C: etnahta ב֒ 0x592 Cs segol ב֓ 0x593 CS shalshelet ב֔ 0x594 Cz zaqef qatan ב֕ 0x595 CZ zaqef gadol ב֖ 0x596 Ct tipeha ב֗ 0x597 Cr revia ב֘ 0x598 Cq zarqa ב֙ 0x599 Cp pashta ב֚ 0x59a C! yetiv ב֛ 0x59b Cv tevir ב֜ 0x59c Cg geresh ב֝ 0x59d C* geresh qadim ב֞ 0x59e CG gershayim ב֟ 0x59f CP qarnei-parah ב֪ 0x5aa Cy yerach-ben-yomo ב֫ 0x5ab Co ole ב֬ 0x5ac Ci iluy ב֭ 0x5ad Cd dehi ב֮ 0x5ae Cn zinor ב֯ 0x5af CC masora circle
Combining forms: ﬠ 0xfb20 X` Alternativeayin ﬡ 0xfb21 X' Alternative ´alef ﬢ 0xfb22 X-d Alternative dalet ﬣ 0xfb23 X-h Alternative he ﬤ 0xfb24 X-k Alternative kaf ﬥ 0xfb25 X-l Alternative lamed ﬦ 0xfb26 X-m Alternative mem-sofit ﬧ 0xfb27 X-r Alternative resh ﬨ 0xfb28 X-t Alternative tav ﬩ 0xfb29 X-+ Alternative plus שׁ 0xfb2a XW shin+shin-dot שׂ 0xfb2b Xw shin+sin-dot שּׁ 0xfb2c X..W shin+shin-dot+dagesh שּׂ 0xfb2d X..w shin+sin-dot+dagesh אַ 0xfb2e XA alef+patah אָ 0xfb2f XO alef+qamats אּ 0xfb30 XI alef+hiriq (mapiq) בּ 0xfb31 X.b bet+dagesh גּ 0xfb32 X.g gimel+dagesh דּ 0xfb33 X.d dalet+dagesh הּ 0xfb34 X.h he+dagesh וּ 0xfb35 Xu vav+dagesh זּ 0xfb36 X.z zayin+dagesh טּ 0xfb38 X.T tet+dagesh יּ 0xfb39 X.y yud+dagesh ךּ 0xfb3a X.K kaf sofit+dagesh כּ 0xfb3b X.k kaf+dagesh לּ 0xfb3c X.l lamed+dagesh מּ 0xfb3e X.m mem+dagesh נּ 0xfb40 X.n nun+dagesh סּ 0xfb41 X.s samech+dagesh ףּ 0xfb43 X.P pe sofit+dagesh פּ 0xfb44 X.p pe+dagesh צּ 0xfb46 X.x tsadi+dagesh קּ 0xfb47 X.q qof+dagesh רּ 0xfb48 X.r resh+dagesh שּ 0xfb49 X.w shin+dagesh תּ 0xfb4a X.t tav+dagesh וֹ 0xfb4b Xo vav+holam בֿ 0xfb4c XRb bet+rafe כֿ 0xfb4d XRk kaf+rafe פֿ 0xfb4e XRp pe+rafe ﭏ 0xfb4f Xal alef-lamed

==============================================================================Using UTF-8 mbyte-utf8 UTF-8 utf-8 utf8

Unicode unicode The Unicode character set was designed to include all characters from other character sets. Therefore it is possible to write text in any language using Unicode (with a few rarely used languages excluded). And it's mostly possible to mix these languages in one file, which is impossible with other encodings.
Unicode can be encoded in several ways. The most popular one is UTF-8, which uses one or more bytes for each character and is backwards compatible with ASCII. On MS-Windows UTF-16 is also used (previously UCS-2), which uses 16-bit words. Vim can support all of these encodings, but always uses UTF-8 internally.
Vim has comprehensive UTF-8 support. It works well in:
xterm with UTF-8 support enabled
MS-Windows GUI
several other platforms
Double-width characters are supported. Works best with 'guifontwide'. When using only 'guifont' the wide characters are drawn in the normal width and a space to fill the gap.
bom-bytes When reading a file a BOM (Byte Order Mark) can be used to recognize the Unicode encoding: EF BB BF UTF-8 FE FF UTF-16 big endian FF FE UTF-16 little endian 00 00 FE FF UTF-32 big endian FF FE 00 00 UTF-32 little endian
UTF-8 is the recommended encoding. Note that it's difficult to tell UTF-16 and UTF-32 apart. UTF-16 is often used on MS-Windows, UTF-32 is not widespread as file format.
mbyte-combining mbyte-composing A composing or combining character is used to change the meaning of the character before it. The combining characters are drawn on top of the preceding character. Too big combined characters cannot be displayed, but they can still be inspected using the g8 and ga commands described below. When editing text a composing character is mostly considered part of the preceding character. For example "x" will delete a character and its following composing characters by default. If the 'delcombine' option is on, then pressing 'x' will delete the combining characters, one at a time, then the base character. But when inserting, you type the first character and the following composing characters separately, after which they will be joined. The "r" command will not allow you to type a combining character, because it doesn't know one is coming. Use "R" instead.
Bytes which are not part of a valid UTF-8 byte sequence are handled like a single character and displayed as <xx>, where "xx" is the hex value of the byte.
Overlong sequences are not handled specially and displayed like a valid character. However, search patterns may not match on an overlong sequence. (an overlong sequence is where more bytes are used than required for the character.) An exception is NUL (zero) which is displayed as "<00>".
In the file and buffer the full range of Unicode characters can be used (31 bits). However, displaying only works for the characters present in the selected font.
Useful commands:
"ga" shows the decimal, hexadecimal and octal value of the character under the cursor. If there are composing characters these are shown too. (If the message is truncated, use ":messages").
"g8" shows the bytes used in a UTF-8 character, also the composing characters, as hex numbers.
":set fileencodings=" forces using UTF-8 for all files. The default is to automatically detect the encoding of a file.
You might want to select the font used for the menus. Unfortunately this doesn't always work. See the system specific remarks below, and 'langmenu'.
You need to specify a font to be used. For double-wide characters another font is required, which is exactly twice as wide. There are three ways to do this:
1. Set 'guifont' and let Vim find a matching 'guifontwide' 2. Set 'guifont' and 'guifontwide'
See the documentation for each option for details. Example:
:set guifont=-misc-fixed-medium-r-normal--15-140-75-75-c-90-iso10646-1
You might also want to set the font used for the menus. This only works for Motif. Use the ":hi Menu font={fontname}" command for this. :highlight
If you are using X-Windows, you should find an input method that supports

UTF-8.

If your system does not provide support for typing UTF-8, you can use the 'keymap' feature. This allows writing a keymap file, which defines a UTF-8 character as a sequence of ASCII characters. See mbyte-keymap.
If everything else fails, you can type any character as four hex bytes:
CTRL-V u 1234
"1234" is interpreted as a hex number. You must type four characters, prepend a zero if necessary.
Commands like f, F, t and r take an argument of one character. For UTF-8 this argument may include one or two composing characters. These need to be produced together with the base character, Vim doesn't wait for the next character to be typed to find out if it is a composing character or not. Using 'keymap' or :lmap is a nice way to type these characters.
The commands that search for a character in a line handle composing characters as follows. When searching for a character without a composing character, this will find matches in the text with or without composing characters. When searching for a character with a composing character, this will only find matches with that composing character. It was implemented this way, because not everybody is able to type a composing character.
These options are relevant for editing multibyte files.
'fileencoding' Encoding of a file. When it's different from "utf-8" conversion is done when reading or writing the file.
'fileencodings' List of possible encodings of a file. When opening a file these will be tried and the first one that doesn't cause an error is used for 'fileencoding'.
'charconvert' Expression used to convert files from one encoding to another.
'formatoptions' The 'm' flag can be included to have formatting break a line at a multibyte character of 256 or higher. Thus is useful for languages where a sequence of characters can be broken anywhere.
'keymap' Specify the name of a keyboard mapping.

==============================================================================

Contributions specifically for the multibyte features by: Chi-Deok Hwang <[email protected]> SungHyun Nam <[email protected]> K.Nagano <[email protected]> Taro Muraoka <[email protected]> Yasuhiro Matsumoto <[email protected]>
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