Mac Vim Usage – Basics

Vim articles

My vim related articles


  • System Version: macOS 10.13 (17A405)
  • Kernel Version: Darwin 17.0.0

Vim installation

For how to install vim on Mac, you can refer to Install vim on macOS High Sierra using source code.


Check which vim is being used

~/Documents$ which vim


Check vim version

~/Documents$ vim --version

VIM - Vi IMproved 8.0 (2016 Sep 12, compiled Jul 26 2017 19:10:24)

Included patches: 1-503, 505-642

Compiled by

Vim Modes

  • Normal
  • Insert
  • Visual
  • Command

Text operations


i Enter insert mode (before current cursor)

I Enter insert mode (from line beginning)

a Enter insert mode (append after cursor)

A Enter insert mode (append from line end)


x Delete character before cursor

X Delete character after cursor

dw Delete word

diw Delete current word

dd Delete line

Joint line

J Joint line.

Save and quit

Press ESC to exit from insert mode

:q! Quit without saving

:w Save only

:q Quit

:wq Save and quit

Cursor movment

w Move cursor forward by a word

b Move cursor backward by a word

0 Move cursor to line beginning

$ Move cursor to line end

gg Move cursor to file start

G Move cursor to file end

Copy and pase

To cut-and-paste or copy-and-paste inside Vim

  1. Position the cursor at the beginning of the text you want to cut/copy.
  2. Press v to begin character-based visual selection, or V to select whole lines, or Ctrl-v or Ctrl-q to select a block.
  3. Move the cursor to the end of the text to be cut/copied. While selecting text, you can perform searches and other advanced movement.
  4. Press d (delete) to cut, or y (yank) to copy.
  5. Move the cursor to the desired paste location.
  6. Press p to paste after the cursor, or P to paste before.

Visual selection (steps 1-3) can be performed using a mouse.

If you want to change the selected text, press c instead of d or y in step 4. In a visual selection, pressing performs a change by deleting the selected text and entering insert mode so you can type the new text.

Some quick commands

yiw Copy a word

yy Copy a line

p Paste before current cursor position.

P Paste after current cursor position.

Undo and redo

u Undo last operation

Ctrl+r Redo the last undone operation.

Search and replace

E.g. we are going to search a keyword “arophix”


In normal mode, type/ to enter your text to be searched. Type<CR> to perform a search.

/arophix search keyword “arophix”

n search next occurrence of keyword “arophix”

N search previous occurrence of keyword “arophix”

:set ignorecase set search mode to be case insensitive

:set noignorecase set search mode to be case sensitive


E.g. we are going to replace “arophix” with “Arophix”

Firstly, set search mode be case sensitive.

:set noignorecase

Secondly, use the:substitute command. In short, substitute command can be :s simply.

:%s/arophix/Arophix/gc search keyword “arophix” in all lines (%) and replace with “Arophix”, but ask for confirmation(/gc).

Open a directory

E.g.  open /User/<myusername>/Download

:e /User/<myusername>/download

Go back to previous editor

Ctrl + ^

Open current directory of the opening file



:e .

Vim help command

:help <command>




3 thoughts on “Mac Vim Usage – Basics

  1. Pingback: Mac Vim Usage – Customization – Arophix

  2. Pingback: Install vim on macOS High Sierra using source code – Arophix

  3. Pingback: Mac Vim Usage – Advanced – Arophix

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