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

Tips and ideas for using Vim
These are just a few that we thought would be helpful for many users. You can find many more tips on the wiki. The URL can be found on
Don't forget to browse the user manual, it also contains lots of useful tips usr_toc.txt.
There are quite a few features in Vim to help you edit C program files. Here is an overview with tags to jump to:
usr_29.txt Moving through programs chapter in the user manual. usr_30.txt Editing programs chapter in the user manual. C-indenting Automatically set the indent of a line while typing text. = Re-indent a few lines. format-comments Format comments.
:checkpath Show all recursively included files. [i Search for identifier under cursor in current and included files. [_CTRL-I Jump to match for "[i" [I List all lines in current and included files where identifier under the cursor matches. [d Search for define under cursor in current and included files.
CTRL-] Jump to tag under cursor (e.g., definition of a function). CTRL-T Jump back to before a CTRL-] command. :tselect Select one tag out of a list of matching tags.
gd Go to Declaration of local variable under cursor. gD Go to Declaration of global variable under cursor.
gf Go to file name under the cursor.
% Go to matching (), {}, [], /* */, #if, #else, #endif. [/ Go to previous start of comment. ]/ Go to next end of comment. [# Go back to unclosed #if, #ifdef, or #else. ]# Go forward to unclosed #else or #endif. [( Go back to unclosed '(' ]) Go forward to unclosed ')' [{ Go back to unclosed '{' ]} Go forward to unclosed '}'
v_ab Select "a block" from "[(" to "])", including braces v_ib Select "inner block" from "[(" to "])" v_aB Select "a block" from [{ to ]}, including brackets v_iB Select "inner block" from [{ to ]}
You probably already know that tags can be used to jump to the place where a function or variable is defined. But sometimes you wish you could jump to all the places where a function or variable is being used. This is possible in two ways: 1. Using the :grep command. This should work on most Unix systems, but can be slow (it reads all files) and only searches in one directory. 2. Using ID utils. This is fast and works in multiple directories. It uses a database to store locations. You will need some additional programs for this to work. And you need to keep the database up to date.
Using the GNU id-tools:
What you need:
The GNU id-tools installed (mkid is needed to create ID and lid is needed to use the macros).
An identifier database file called "ID" in the current directory. You can create it with the shell command "mkid file1 file2 ..".
Put this in your init.vim:
map _u :call ID_search()<Bar>execute "/\\<" .. g:word .. "\\>"<CR>
map _n :n<Bar>execute "/\\<" .. g:word .. "\\>"<CR>
function! ID_search()
  let g:word = expand("<cword>")
  let x = system("lid --key=none " .. g:word)
  let x = substitute(x, "\n", " ", "g")
  execute "next " .. x
To use it, place the cursor on a word, type "_u" and vim will load the file that contains the word. Search for the next occurrence of the word in the same file with "n". Go to the next file with "_n".
This has been tested with id-utils-3.2 (which is the name of the id-tools archive file on your closest gnu-ftp-mirror).
[the idea for this comes from Andreas Kutschera]
If you are in insert mode and you want to see something that is just off the screen, you can use CTRL-X CTRL-E and CTRL-X CTRL-Y to scroll the screen. i_CTRL-X_CTRL-E
To make this easier, you could use these mappings:
:inoremap <C-E> <C-X><C-E>
:inoremap <C-Y> <C-X><C-Y>
You then lose the ability to copy text from the line above/below the cursor i_CTRL-E.
Also consider setting 'scrolloff' to a larger value, so that you can always see some context around the cursor. If 'scrolloff' is bigger than half the window height, the cursor will always be in the middle and the text is scrolled when the cursor is moved up/down.
If you like the scrolling to go a bit smoother, you can use these mappings:
:map <C-U> <C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y><C-Y>
:map <C-D> <C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E><C-E>

==============================================================================Correcting common typing mistakes type-mistakes

When there are a few words that you keep on typing in the wrong way, make abbreviations that correct them. For example:
:ab teh the
:ab fro for

==============================================================================Counting words, lines, etc. count-items

To count how often any pattern occurs in the current buffer use the substitute command and add the 'n' flag to avoid the substitution. The reported number of substitutions is the number of items. Examples:
:%s/./&/gn                characters
:%s/\i\+/&/gn                words
:%s/^//n                lines
:%s/the/&/gn                "the" anywhere
:%s/\<the\>/&/gn        "the" as a word
You might want to reset 'hlsearch' or do ":nohlsearch". Add the 'e' flag if you don't want an error when there are no matches.
An alternative is using v_g_CTRL-G in Visual mode.
If you want to find matches in multiple files use :vimgrep.
count-bytes If you want to count bytes, you can use this:
Visually select the characters (block is also possible) Use "y" to yank the characters Use the strlen() function:
:echo strlen(@")
A line break is counted for one byte.
Sometimes you want to write a mapping that makes a change somewhere in the file and restores the cursor position, without scrolling the text. For example, to change the date mark in a file:
:map <F2> msHmtgg/Last [cC]hange:\s*/e+1<CR>"_D"=strftime("%Y %b %d")<CR>p'tzt`s
Breaking up saving the position: ms store cursor position in the 's' mark H go to the first line in the window mt store this position in the 't' mark
Breaking up restoring the position: 't go to the line previously at the top of the window zt scroll to move this line to the top of the window s jump to the original position of the cursor
For something more advanced see winsaveview() and winrestview().
Say I have a directory with the following files in them (directory picked at random :-):
buffer.c charset.c digraph.c


and I want to rename *.c *.bla. I'd do it like this:
$ vim
:r !ls *.c
:%s/\(.*\).c/mv & \1.bla
:w !sh

==============================================================================Change a name in multiple files change-name

Example for using a script file to change a name in several files:
Create a file "subs.vim" containing substitute commands and a :update command:
Execute Vim on all files you want to change, and source the script for each argument:
vim *.let
argdo source subs.vim
See :argdo.
In some situations, execution of an external command can be very slow. This can also slow down wildcard expansion on Unix. Here are a few suggestions to increase the speed.
If your .cshrc (or other file, depending on the shell used) is very long, you should separate it into a section for interactive use and a section for non-interactive use (often called secondary shells). When you execute a command from Vim like ":!ls", you do not need the interactive things (for example, setting the prompt). Put the stuff that is not needed after these lines:
if ($?prompt == 0) then
        exit 0
Another way is to include the "-f" flag in the 'shell' option, e.g.:
:set shell=csh\ -f
(the backslash is needed to include the space in the option). This will make csh completely skip the use of the .cshrc file. This may cause some things to stop working though.
Here are a few mappings that some people like to use.
:map ' `
Make the single quote work like a backtick. Puts the cursor on the column of a mark, instead of going to the first non-blank character in the line.
emacs-keys For Emacs-style editing on the command-line:
" start of line
:cnoremap <C-A>                <Home>
" back one character
:cnoremap <C-B>                <Left>
" delete character under cursor
:cnoremap <C-D>                <Del>
" end of line
:cnoremap <C-E>                <End>
" forward one character
:cnoremap <C-F>                <Right>
" recall newer command-line
:cnoremap <C-N>                <Down>
" recall previous (older) command-line
:cnoremap <C-P>                <Up>
" back one word
:cnoremap <Esc><C-B>        <S-Left>
" forward one word
:cnoremap <Esc><C-F>        <S-Right>
format-bullet-list This mapping will format any bullet list. It requires that there is an empty line above and below each list entry. The expression commands are used to be able to give comments to the parts of the mapping.
:let m =     ":map _f  :set ai<CR>"   " need 'autoindent' set
:let m ..= "{O<Esc>"                      " add empty line above item
:let m ..= "}{)^W"                      " move to text after bullet
:let m ..= "i     <CR>     <Esc>"     " add space for indent
:let m ..= "gq}"                      " format text after the bullet
:let m ..= "{dd"                      " remove the empty line
:let m ..= "5lDJ"                      " put text after bullet
:execute m                              |" define the mapping
(<> notation <>. Note that this is all typed literally. ^W is "^" "W", not


Note that the last comment starts with |", because the ":execute" command doesn't accept a comment directly.
You also need to set 'textwidth' to a non-zero value, e.g.,
:set tw=70
A mapping that does about the same, but takes the indent for the list from the first line (Note: this mapping is a single long line with a lot of spaces):
:map _f :set ai<CR>}{a                                                          <Esc>WWmmkD`mi<CR><Esc>kkddpJgq}'mJO<Esc>j
collapse These two mappings reduce a sequence of empty (;b) or blank (;n) lines into a single line
:map ;b   GoZ<Esc>:g/^$/.,/./-j<CR>Gdd
:map ;n   GoZ<Esc>:g/^[ <Tab>]*$/.,/[^ <Tab>]/-j<CR>Gdd

==============================================================================Compressing the help files gzip-helpfile

For those of you who are really short on disk space, you can compress the help files and still be able to view them with Vim. This makes accessing the help files a bit slower and requires the "gzip" program.
(1) Compress all the help files: "gzip doc/*.txt".
(2) Edit "doc/tags" and change the ".txt" to ".txt.gz":
(3) Add this line to your vimrc:
set helpfile={dirname}/help.txt.gz
Where {dirname} is the directory where the help files are. The gzip plugin will take care of decompressing the files. You must make sure that $VIMRUNTIME is set to where the other Vim files are, when they are not in the same location as the compressed "doc" directory. See $VIMRUNTIME.
See section 23.3 of the user manual.
If one has a particular extension that one uses for binary files (such as exe, bin, etc), you may find it helpful to automate the process with the following bit of autocmds for your init.vim. Change that "*.bin" to whatever comma-separated list of extension(s) you find yourself wanting to edit:
" vim -b : edit binary using xxd-format!
augroup Binary
  autocmd BufReadPre  *.bin set binary
  autocmd BufReadPost *.bin
    \ if &binary
    \ |   execute "silent %!xxd -c 32"
    \ |   set filetype=xxd
    \ |   redraw
    \ | endif
  autocmd BufWritePre *.bin
    \ if &binary
    \ |   let s:view = winsaveview()
    \ |   execute "silent %!xxd -r -c 32"
    \ | endif
  autocmd BufWritePost *.bin
    \ if &binary
    \ |   execute "silent %!xxd -c 32"
    \ |   set nomodified
    \ |   call winrestview(s:view)
    \ |   redraw
    \ | endif
augroup END

==============================================================================Using <> notation in autocommands autocmd-<>

The <> notation is not recognized in the argument of an :autocmd. To avoid having to use special characters, you could use a self-destroying mapping to get the <> notation and then call the mapping from the autocmd. Example:
" This is for automatically adding the name of the file to the menu list.
" It uses a self-destroying mapping!
" 1. use a line in the buffer to convert the 'dots' in the file name to \.
" 2. store that in register '"'
" 3. add that name to the Buffers menu list
" WARNING: this does have some side effects, like overwriting the
" current register contents and removing any mapping for the "i" command.
autocmd BufNewFile,BufReadPre * nmap i :nunmap i<CR>O<C-R>%<Esc>:.g/\./s/\./\\./g<CR>0"9y$u:menu Buffers.<C-R>9 :buffer <C-R>%<C-V><CR><CR>
autocmd BufNewFile,BufReadPre * normal i
Another method, perhaps better, is to use the ":execute" command. In the string you can use the <> notation by preceding it with a backslash. Don't forget to double the number of existing backslashes and put a backslash before '"'.
autocmd BufNewFile,BufReadPre * exe "normal O\<C-R>%\<Esc>:.g/\\./s/\\./\\\\./g\<CR>0\"9y$u:menu Buffers.\<C-R>9 :buffer \<C-R>%\<C-V>\<CR>\<CR>"
For a real buffer menu, user functions should be used (see :function), but then the <> notation isn't used, which defeats using it as an example here.
This example shows the use of a few advanced tricks:
using the CursorMoved autocommand event
using searchpairpos() to find a matching paren
using synID() to detect whether the cursor is in a string or comment
using :match to highlight something
using a pattern to match a specific position in the file.
This should be put in a Vim script file, since it uses script-local variables. It skips matches in strings or comments, unless the cursor started in string or comment. This requires syntax highlighting.
A slightly more advanced version is used in the matchparen plugin.
let s:paren_hl_on = 0
function s:Highlight_Matching_Paren()
  if s:paren_hl_on
    match none
    let s:paren_hl_on = 0
  let c_lnum = line('.')
  let c_col = col('.')
  let c = getline(c_lnum)[c_col - 1]
  let plist = split(&matchpairs, ':\|,')
  let i = index(plist, c)
  if i < 0
  if i % 2 == 0
    let s_flags = 'nW'
    let c2 = plist[i + 1]
    let s_flags = 'nbW'
    let c2 = c
    let c = plist[i - 1]
  if c == '['
    let c = '\['
    let c2 = '\]'
  let s_skip ='synIDattr(synID(line("."), col("."), 0), "name") ' ..
        \ '=~?        "string\\|comment"'
  execute 'if' s_skip '| let s_skip = 0 | endif'
  let [m_lnum, m_col] = searchpairpos(c, '', c2, s_flags, s_skip)
  if m_lnum > 0 && m_lnum >= line('w0') && m_lnum <= line('w$')
    exe 'match Search /\(\%' .. c_lnum .. 'l\%' .. c_col ..
          \ 'c\)\|\(\%' .. m_lnum .. 'l\%' .. m_col .. 'c\)/'
    let s:paren_hl_on = 1
autocmd CursorMoved,CursorMovedI * call s:Highlight_Matching_Paren()
autocmd InsertEnter * match none
By default, help is displayed in a split window. If you prefer it opens in the current window, try this custom :HelpCurwin command:
command -bar -nargs=? -complete=help HelpCurwin execute s:HelpCurwin(<q-args>)
let s:did_open_help = v:false
function s:HelpCurwin(subject) abort
  let mods = 'silent noautocmd keepalt'
  if !s:did_open_help
    execute mods .. ' help'
    execute mods .. ' helpclose'
    let s:did_open_help = v:true
  if !empty(getcompletion(a:subject, 'help'))
    execute mods .. ' edit ' .. &helpfile
    set buftype=help
  return 'help ' .. a:subject
Commands index
Quick reference