These notes are based on VimCasts


1. Show invisibles

  • Add keybinding to toggle between showing visible and non-visible characters

    " Shortcut to rapidly toggle `set list`
    nmap <leader>l :set list!<CR>
  • To change to use more standard keybindings

    " Use the same symbols as TextMate for tabstops and EOLs
    set listchars=tab:▸\ ,eol:¬
  • Can update colour schemes to make these more discreet

Screencast Link

2. Tabs and Spaces

  • Tabstop Specifies the width of a tab character
  • Expandtab When enabled, uses spaces instead of tabs
  • Softtabstop Fine tunes the amount of whitespace to be inserted
  • Shiftwidth the amount of whitespace to insert or remove using the indentation commands

  • Using spaces ensure that softtabstop == shiftwidth

3. Whitespace preferences and filetypes

  • Can change whitespace settings for a particular filetype using autocmd FileType <filename>.
  • For example, make requires tabs to indent instead of spaces so can use autocmd FileType make setlocal ts=8 sts=8 sw=8 noexpandtab

  • autocmd FileType javascript <command> will execute the command whenever the filetype changes to javascript

  • setlocal ensures that whatever changes are only made to the open buffer and not globally.

  • To enable filetype detection add filetype on to the .vimrc file.

  • In the .vimrc can use if has("autocmd") so that on a vim without autocmd support, the FileType commands will be skipped

  • To treat a specific filetype as another use the setfiletype command. For example, autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead *.rss setfiletype xml

5. Indentation Commands

  • Use the angle bracket keys to indent.
  • In normal mode use >> to indent the current line. Prepend this with a count to indent a number of lines
  • In visual mode use a single '>' to indent the visual selection. This will drop you back out of visual mode. Use the . operator to repeat the indentation and u to undo the indentation.
  • << and < unindents
  • Use == to auto-indent the current line (= in visual mode)
  • These commands can be used with motions e.g. =i} will auto-indent the current inner block. =G will auto-indent until the end of the file.

6. Working with Buffers

  • :ls - show the buffer list
  • :bn - open the next buffer
  • :bp - open the previous buffer
  • Ctrl-^ - switch to the alternate file (displayed with the # in ls)

Hidden Buffers

  • + sign in ls means that the buffer has been modified
  • A hidden buffer has unsaved changed and is not loaded in a window
  • :w saves the buffer
  • :e! reverts any changes
  • :q! quits Vim and discards any changes in any buffers.

7. Working with Windows

  • We can split the current window and open the same file in the new window. This gives us two views into the same file.
    • Ctrl-w s split the window horizontally
    • Ctrl-w v split the window vertically
  • We can also open a different file in the new window
    • :sp filename open filename in a new horizontal split
    • :vsp filename open filename in a new vertical split

Closing split windows

  • :q[uit] closes the current window
  • :on[ly] closes all the other windows except for the currently active one
  • Ctrl-w w cycle between the open windows
  • Ctrl-w h move to the window on the left
  • Ctrl-w j move to the window below
  • Ctrl-w k move to the window above
  • Ctrl-w l move to the window on the right

VimCast Episode 7

8. Working with tabs

In Vim tabs are used to have different layouts for viewing buffers. The same buffer can be open in multiple tabs.

  • :tabedit filename opens the file in a new tab
  • Ctrl-W T moves the current split window to its own tab
  • :tabclose closes the current tab page and all its windows
  • :tabonly closes all other tabs except the current tab
  • gt move to the next tab
  • gT move to the previous tab
  • <number>gt move to the specific tab number. Note that tabs are numbered from 0.
  • :tabmove move the tab to the end.
  • :tabmove <number> move the tab to the specified tab position.

VimCast Episode 8

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