Vim Reference Guide
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Vim Reference Guide

Concise learning resource for beginner to intermediate level Vim users

About the Book


Vim Reference Guide is intended as a concise learning resource for beginner to intermediate level Vim users. It has more in common with cheatsheets than a typical text book. Topics like Regular Expressions and Macros have more detailed explanations and examples due to their complexity.

The features covered in this guide are shaped and limited by my own experiences since 2007. I had a rough beginning as a design engineer having to learn Linux command line, Vim and Perl on the job. I distinctly remember progressing from dd (delete current line) to d↓ (delete current line as well as the line below) and feeling happy that it reduced time spent on editing. I didn't know about count prefix or the various ways I could've deleted all the lines from the beginning of the file to the line containing a specific phrase. Or even better, I could've automated editing multiple files if I had been familiar with Sed or progressed that far with Perl.

I hope this guide would make it much easier for you to discover Vim features and learning resources than my own blundering experience.


I do give a brief introduction to get started with using Vim, but having prior experience would be ideal before using this resource. As a minimum requirement, you should be able to use vimtutor on your own.

Video playlist

I'm currently creating short 1-15 minute videos highlighting handy Vim features.


Got several suggestions and feedback when my submission about this book reached the front page of Hacker News.

Great job on this! — rendall
Hi, great work releasing this! Trying to explain vim concisely is always an interesting challenge and I had a great time reading your attempt in this book. I always find it really interesting on how people try to group certain vim functions in a way that makes sense to people that don't use vim. I think you cover that idea pretty well in your 'Vim philosophy and features' section whilst not making it overly abstract and keeping it relatable. — doix
Neat stuff! One piece of feedback is that I would include "+p and "+yy in the copy and paste section. — mrpotato
I learnt regular expression by reading your books, thank you for the great work. — LamJH

A comment from another Hacker News thread:

I stumbled upon your vi post a few days ago, really like the style. Keep it up!

GitHub repo

Visit for markdown source and other details related to the book.


  1. Preface
  2. Introduction
  3. Insert mode
  4. Normal mode
  5. Command-line mode
  6. Visual mode
  7. Regular Expressions
  8. Macro
  9. Customizing Vim
  10. CLI options

About the Author

Sundeep Agarwal
Sundeep Agarwal

Sundeep Agarwal is a lazy being who prefers to work just enough to support his modest lifestyle. He accumulated vast wealth working as a Design Engineer at Analog Devices and retired from the corporate world at the ripe age of twenty-eight. Unfortunately, he squandered his savings within a few years and had to scramble trying to earn a living. Against all odds, selling programming ebooks saved his lazy self from having to look for a job again. He can now afford all the fantasy ebooks he wants to read and spends unhealthy amount of time browsing the internet.

When the creative muse strikes, he can be found working on yet another programming ebook (which invariably ends up having at least one example with regular expressions). Researching materials for his ebooks and everyday social media usage drowned his bookmarks, so he maintains curated resource lists for sanity sake. He is thankful for free learning resources and open source tools. His own contributions can be found at

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