Vim Cheatsheet

I’ve really enjoyed integrating vim into my workflow and value learning everything that it has to offer. As I continue to grow I will update this to include helpful tips that don’t warrant its own post.

Factory Settings

Start vim without your vimrc configurations. -u NONE stops vimrc from loading and -N sets nocampatible option.

$ vim -u NONE -N

Insert Normal mode

You might be familiar with normal mode and insert mode at this point in your vim career. Sometimes you just want to fire off one command and go back into insert mode.

" You can turn this

" Into this


Many commands say they use ranges in Ex commands. You can create a range by making it comma separated after pressing :. Documentation will often notate it like [range] which means :{start},{end}. For example:

:40,60 - Range from line 40 to line 60.
:/<body>/,/<\/body>/ - Range from the opening and closing of the body tag.

Visual mode

v, V, and <Ctrl-v> put you into the three types of visual mode.

You can use o when in visual mode to change directions in your selection without losing currently selected characters.

gv will visual select the last thing you had selected.


You can change visually selected text to uppercase with U.

gU will make text uppercase from from normal mode.


I used to use >> to indent lines one step at a time but found something that works better for me. Add this to your vimrc

filetype plugin indent on " smart indenting using ==

Vim can do some intelligent indenting now when pressing == on a line. It knows based on file type and the content the correct indentation levels for methods, classes, blocks, whatever. This works with motion commands as well so you can use number keys to indent large sections of files.

Intending to end of file

> indents and G signifies to do the action until the end of the file.


Tabs in vim are like tabs in most other programs. You can read help commands for tab pages in the vim documentation:

:h tabp
  • gt and gT will cycle through your open tabs.
  • :tab [filename] will open a file in a new tab.


/ Searches the current buffer for first match and hitting return will find all. You might need to escape some character

n Moves to each found term

Search under cursor

You can use * to search for the word under you cursor. n works the same here.


Vim can add or subtract values on the numbers. This works on numbers that the cursor is positioned over. It also will move to the nearest numeric value if not positioned over it eliminating the need for movement commands.

This will add 20 and subtract 90. vim 20<Ctrl-a> 90<Ctrl-x>


You can look at the list of actions that are mapped to keys by typing :map with your matching pattern. For example, I can see what’s mapped to <leader>c by typing.

:map <leader>c

I’ve made a new mapping in my .vimrc and wondered why it was taking so long to accept the command. Turns out it was waiting for more characters. This is helpful because some commands might be mapped to plugins that you’ve included.

Vim, Cheatsheet