100 Vim commands every programmer should know

Since the 70's, Vi is one of the programmer's best friend. Nevermind you're new to Vi or not, here's a big list of 100 useful commands, organized by topic, which will make your coder life better.

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:e filenameOpen filename for edition
:wSave file
:qExit Vim
:w!Write file and quit


/wordSearch word from top to bottom
?wordSearch word from bottom to top
/jo[ha]nSearch john or joan
/\< theSearch the, theatre or then
/the\>Search the or breathe
/\< the\>Search the
/\< ¦.\>Search all words of 4 letters
/\/Search fred but not alfred or frederick
/fred\|joeSearch fred or joe
/\<\d\d\d\d\>Search exactly 4 digits
/^\n\{3}Find 3 empty lines
:bufdo /searchstr/Search in all open files


:%s/old/new/gReplace all occurences of old by new in file
:%s/old/new/gwReplace all occurences with confirmation
:2,35s/old/new/gReplace all occurences between lines 2 and 35
:5,$s/old/new/gReplace all occurences from line 5 to EOF
:%s/^/hello/gReplace the begining of each line by hello
:%s/$/Harry/gReplace the end of each line by Harry
:%s/onward/forward/giReplace onward by forward, case unsensitive
:%s/ *$//gDelete all white spaces
:g/string/dDelete all lines containing string
:v/string/dDelete all lines containing which didn’t contain string
:s/Bill/Steve/Replace the first occurence of Bill by Steve in current line
:s/Bill/Steve/gReplace Bill by Steve in current line
:%s/Bill/Steve/gReplace Bill by Steve in all the file
:%s/\r//gDelete DOS carriage returns (^M)
:%s/\r/\r/gTransform DOS carriage returns in returns
:%s#<[^>]\+>##gDelete HTML tags but keeps text
:%s/^\(.*\)\n\1$/\1/Delete lines which appears twice
Ctrl+aIncrement number under the cursor
Ctrl+xDecrement number under cursor
ggVGg?Change text to Rot13


VuLowercase line
VUUppercase line
g~~Invert case
vEUSwitch word to uppercase
vE~Modify word case
ggguGSet all text to lowercase
:set ignorecaseIgnore case in searches
:set smartcaseIgnore case in searches excepted if an uppercase letter is used
:%s/\<./\u&/gSets first letter of each word to uppercase
:%s/\<./\l&/gSets first letter of each word to lowercase
:%s/.*/\u&Sets first letter of each line to uppercase
:%s/.*/\l&Sets first letter of each line to lowercase

Read/Write files

:1,10 w outfileSaves lines 1 to 10 in outfile
:1,10 w >> outfileAppends lines 1 to 10 to outfile
:r infileInsert the content of infile
:23r infileInsert the content of infile under line 23

File explorer

:e .Open integrated file explorer
:SexSplit window and open integrated file explorer
:browse eGraphical file explorer
:lsList buffers
:cd ..Move to parent directory
:argsList files
:args *.phpOpen file list
:grep expression *.phpReturns a list of .php files contening expression
gfOpen file name under cursor

Interact with Unix

:!pwdExecute the pwd unix command, then returns to Vi
!!pwdExecute the pwd unix command and insert output in file
:shTemporary returns to Unix
$exitRetourns to Vi


:%!fmtAlign all lines
!}fmtAlign all lines at the current position
5!!fmtAlign the next 5 lines


:tabnewCreates a new tab
gtShow next tab
:tabfirstShow first tab
:tablastShow last tab
:tabm n(position)Rearrange tabs
:tabdo %s/foo/bar/gExecute a command in all tabs
:tab ballPuts all open files in tabs

Window spliting

:e filenameEdit filename in current window
:split filenameSplit the window and open filename
ctrl-w up arrowPuts cursor in top window
ctrl-w ctrl-wPuts cursor in next window
ctrl-w_Maximise current window
ctrl-w=Gives the same size to all windows
10 ctrl-w+Add 10 lines to current window
:vsplit fileSplit window vertically
:sview fileSame as :split in readonly mode
:hideClose current window
:­nlyClose all windows, excepted current
:b 2Open #2 in this window


Ctrl+n Ctrl+p (in insert mode)Complete word
Ctrl+x Ctrl+lComplete line
:set dictionary=dictDefine dict as a dictionnary
Ctrl+x Ctrl+kComplete with dictionnary


mkMarks current position as k
˜kMoves cursor to mark k
d™kDelete all until mark k


:ab mail mail@provider.orgDefine mail as abbreviation of mail@provider.org

Text indent

:set autoindentTurn on auto-indent
:set smartindentTurn on intelligent auto-indent
:set shiftwidth=4Defines 4 spaces as indent size
ctrl-t, ctrl-dIndent/un-indent in insert mode

Syntax highlighting

:syntax onTurn on syntax highlighting
:syntax offTurn off syntax highlighting
:set syntax=perlForce syntax highlighting