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Purpose of blog

Vim and this blog


I'm a writer. I use vim for the bulk of my writing.

I've used vim and vi for more than fifteen years.

This blog documents vim from a writer's viewpoint.

Writers who grok vim can get more work done in less time than with a word processor.

Most of writing is editing. Vim cuts down on editing time.

My aim is to take anyone interested in vim to the point of self-sufficiency.

It's easy to go down the rabbit hole with a complex piece of software like vim.

That's not necessary!

Nearly all the benefit of vim comes from plucking the low-hanging fruit.

If you're a writer, don't learn emacs instead of vim.

Emacs has killer features that programmers need, but is clunky with text.

My teaching philosophy is, "Monkey see, monkey do."

Don't just read the blog. Follow along with vim! Things will start to click.

Every blog post is based around an exercise.

When I learned vim, I read technical documentation.

I learned a new key and thought, "Great. Now that I know that, what do I do?"

Nothing made sense out of context!

In addition to key definitions, writers need to see vim in action.

That's why this blog uses vim commands on real files, as a writer might.

If you follow the blog posts, you'll have success.

You'll understand things I don't explain well or don't explain at all.

I'm introducing everything at once, in a circular way.

The other approach would be linear, to exhaust topics one by one.

If you prefer the linear approach, it's out there! Lots of documentation exists already.

I will also work on a linear reference section, together with my blog posts.

I hope this blog is helpful to writers who want to harness the power of vim.

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Popular posts from this blog

Moving and deleting sentences in vim

What is a sentence?  Vim looks for punctuation to define a sentence.

Vim usually knows what a sentence is, but not always!

Here are two useful commands.

To move to the start of the next sentence, type ).

To move to the start of the current or previous sentence, type (.

Now let's see how these commands are used.

Open vim.

Hit i to go into insert mode.

Type or copy and paste this text:

Hello, Mr. Wilson. I was wondering if you could stop by this afternoon.

Hit <Esc> (or better yet, jj) to go back to normal mode.

Your cursor should be on the period of the second sentence.

Type ( to go back to the start of the current sentence.

Your cursor should be on the I at the start of the second sentence.

Type ( to go to the first letter of the previous sentence.

Oops! We ended up on the W of Wilson. Why?

Vim saw two sentences, "Hello, Mr." and "Wilson."

Two periods, two sentences.

Type ) to return to the start of the second sentence.

Type 2( to go to the start of the f…

Movement and reordering paragraphs in vim

Movement
Vim has many movement commands.

The four most important are h, j, k, and l.

They are consecutive keys under the right hand on the home row.

They function as the arrow keys do, but are easier to reach.

h and l move right and left respectively.

j moves down a line, and k moves up a line.

Reordering paragraphs
Download this file to your computer and open it in vim.

The five paragraphs in the document are out of order!

Before we fix the paragraphs, let's move around in the document to get used to the movement keys. Move to the bottom and top of the document by holding down j and k respectively. Go right and left within a line with l and h. Using h, j, k, and l to move will feel a little funny at first. Stick with it!

Now we're ready to go to work.

Move your cursor to the first line.

Your cursor can be anywhere within Paragraph 5.

Type dj. (No period! Just dj)

Paragraph 5 and the line below it are gone!

Use j to move your cursor to the empty line below Paragraph 4.

Type p…

Multiple line paragraphs in vim

Paragraphs in vim
Yesterday we moved around paragraphs of a single line.

Paragraphs are not always a single line.

Open this excerpt from War and Peace.

It's filled with multiple-line paragraphs.

We can move multiple-line paragraphs as they are.

A better solution is to make them single lines.

Before we do that, let's make sure we'll be able to see them!

Vim does not wrap text by default.

Type : to enter command mode.

Type set wrap <Enter> to make sure that long lines wrap.

Vim might break in the middle of words too.

Type : to enter command mode.

Type set linebreak <Enter> to make sure vim breaks at spaces.

To join lines, use J. (Just J, not the period!)

With your cursor on the first line of the first paragraph, type J to join the first and second lines. Type another J to join with the next line. When you reach the blank line, leave it. Always leave a space between paragraphs in vim. Move to the next paragraph with j, and join those lines with J. Continue until e…