Painless Vim
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Painless Vim

A Sane Person's Guide to the World's Most Powerful Editor

About the Book

As I use Painless Vim, I feel like your are there learning with me rather than standing on the other side of my desk spouting information at me. Your style is very readable and that counts for so much, especially when covering a complex tool such as Vim... What I want and have found in Painless Vim is learning that is fun. --Andy Staab

Painless Vim [is] an excellent way to get acquainted with a very powerful editor. It also now includes a very well-designed and quick-to-scan cheat sheet. It’s one of the most helpful I’ve seen.Brett Terpstra

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Vim (But Were Afraid to Ask) #painlessvim by @PogiNate

— Gábor (@gaborpro) June 11, 2014

Painless Vim is written by a professional developer who tried to learn vim a number of times before it finally stuck. I kept falling into the same cycle: I'd read a wide a array of books, online tutorials, print-outs, go through all their steps, and in the end get almost nowhere. Then I'd quietly go back to my editor of choice until next time I decided to try it out.

It wasn't until I started abusing the patience of a fellow developer who was a few months ahead of me on the vim learning curve that I came to finally understand how much power vim actually has to offer. He didn't try to tell me that I had to do everything "the vim way" or even that I had to give up my favorite editor. Instead he quietly and kindly gave me pointers that I could understand, advice I could appreciate, and encouragement to keep trying. With his help I was surprised how quickly I got comfortable with vim, and how much faster I've been ever since.

And now I want to pass that kind of learning along. Painless Vim starts with the understanding that you're an intelligent, busy person who has to get actual work done along with learning a new text editor. This book is designed to help you get comfortable with vim incrementally, without demanding that you toss your mouse out the window and disable all the keyboard shortcuts you've learned over the years. The goal is to introduce you to the 20% of vim that you'll use most often first, and give you pointers to the 80% you'll use less often when you're ready to explore.

Painless Vim is also designed to be short, easy to read, and inexpensive, so you can learn quickly and painlessly if vim is for you, without slogging through 500 pages or shelling out a ton of money just to go back to your editor of choice. I think you'll like this book, and I think that before too long you'll find that using vim is actually fun and that learning it was, well, painless.

About the Author

Nate Dickson
Nate Dickson

Nate Dickson, MBA is a scrum master by day, working for a large non-profit organization in the tops of the Rocky Mountains. By night he writes novels, plays games, and contributes to various open source projects. Nate lives in a cozy little suburb with his wife, kids, and a couple of dogs. It's a good life.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
    • Why? Why This?
    • I’m a Stranger Here, Myself
  • Introduction
    • Why Learn Vim
    • What This Book Is
    • What This Book Isn’t
    • Who am I?
    • References
    • Sample Documents
    • The Obligatory “Conventions Used in This Book” Section
  • 1. Get In, Get Out, Get Comfortable
    • Line numbers and Moving Around
  • 2. Moving Around in Vim: Baby Steps
    • Zoom!
  • 3. Your .vimrc File And You
    • I Was Promised Color Schemes!
    • Using Keymaps to Get Unlost
  • 4. Interlude: The Joy of a Good Cheat Sheet
  • 5. Moving Around in Vim: Grown Up Steps
  • 6. Operators 1: Changing Letters and Lines
    • Operators Alone: Changing Single Characters
    • Operating on a Line
    • Single Caps vs. Double Taps
    • How to Instantly Make Your Life Easier with cc (or C)
  • 7. Doing Things More Than Once
    • Using Counts
    • Using Text Objects
    • Behold The All-Powerful Dot
  • 8. Moving Around in Vim: Dance Steps
    • Words and WORDS
    • Inner and All
    • Move by Counting
    • (Book)marks
  • 9. Modes at Last
    • What Modes Are
    • What is Normal, Anyway?
    • --INSERT-- Means You Are Free to Type Normally.
    • Command Mode: The One You’ve Been Secretly Using all This Time.
    • Visual Mode: Marking Text
    • …And all the Rest
  • 10. Plugins
    • What a Plugin Is
    • Plugins the Hard Way
    • And Now, the Easy Way
    • Nate’s Favorite Plugins
  • 11. Operators: Moving and Changing at the Same Time
    • Move-and-Edit Commands; or “Vim Commands 202”
  • 12. Interlude: How to Back Off Without Giving Up
  • 13. Registers: Clipboards as Far as the Eye Can See
    • Say Hi to the Named Registers
    • Little Changes, Big Changes
    • Really Actually Deleting Stuff
  • 14. Text Origami. :h folding
    • Okay, But How Do I Fold Things?
  • 15. Searching and (More Importantly) Finding
    • Whole File Searches: / and ?
    • Find Me Another One of These: * and #
    • Line Searching: t/T and f/F
    • R…R…Regular Expressions?!?
  • 16. Using Vim’s Help System
    • Getting the Help You Need
    • Relatively Shallow Secrets of the Help System
  • 17. Doing Things at Vim Speed
  • 18. Mapping Keys
    • All the Key map Commands
    • Take me to your <Leader> Key!
    • What not to map
    • What to Map
    • <Plug>
    • Recursive Mappings, and How to Avoid Them
  • 19. Fancy Insert Mode Tricks
    • <ctrl>x Adventures
    • <ctrl>r Funtimes
    • Completions!
  • 20. Vim Windows Are Not Microsoft Windows
    • Opening and Closing Windows :h opening-window
    • Window Commands begin with <ctrl>w
    • Moving Between Windows :h window-move-cursor
    • Resizing Windows h: window-resize
    • Moving Windows Around :h window-moving
  • 21. Tab Pages Are Not Browser Tabs
    • How To Use Tab Pages :h tabpage
  • 22. Interlude: Reviewing Views
    • Files
    • Windows
    • Tabs
  • 23. How Vim Thinks
    • You Don’t Edit Files, you Edit Buffers
    • Updating Vim
  • 24. Visual (Mode) Basics :h visual-mode
    • Characterwise Visual Mode :h characterwise-visual
    • Linewise Visual Mode :h linewise-visual
    • Blockwise Visual Mode :h blockwise-visual
    • Common Visual Mode Commands
  • 25. Vim GUIs
    • Setting Expectations, Then Setting Some Settings
    • Setting the Font in gvim
  • 26. Menus Everywhere! :h menus
    • Adding a Menu
    • Keeping Things In Order
    • Making the Menu Come to You
    • Linux and Windows
    • MacVim is a Special Snowflake!
  • 27. Literary Vim: Writing Prose in Vim
    • Setting up the a Writing Workflow
    • Writer-Friendly Vim Settings
    • Spreading the Word: How to Get Your Message Out Into the World
    • More Formats! I Need More Formats!
  • 28. Conclusion
  • Appendix 1: Links to References
    • Color Scheme References
    • Cheat Sheets
    • Great Books on vim
    • Great Sites to Learn more Vim
    • More About Expressions
    • Bundle Managers
  • Appendix 2: Quick Reference Charts
    • Motions
    • Commands
    • Text Objects
    • Registers
    • Folding
    • Menus
    • Tab Commands
  • Appendix 3: Sample .vimrc files
  • About This Book
    • About the Text
    • About the cover
  • Special Thanks
  • Notes

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