Vim (text editor)

Infobox Software
name = Vim

caption = Graphical Vim under GTK+ 2
author = Bram Moolenaar
developer =
released = release year|1991
frequently_updated = yes
programming language = C and Vim script
platform = Cross-platform,including Unix,Linux and Microsoft Windows| language = English, Chinese, French, Italian, Polish, Russian [cite web|title=Vim in non-English languages|url=|accessdate=2008-02-04|language=english]
genre = Text editor
license = Free software, charityware
website =

Vim is a text editor first released by Bram Moolenaar in 1991 for the Amiga computer. The name "Vim" is an acronym for "Vi IMproved" [cite web
title=ICCF Holland - helping children in Uganda
publisher=ICCF Holland

comments by Bram Moolenaar here, and many other places.
] because Vim was created as an extended version of the vi editor, with many additional features designed to be helpful in editing program source code.

While Vim is cross-platform, it is most popular on Unix-like operating systems. [Cite web|url=|title=Linux Journal: 2003 Readers' Choice Awards|accessdate=2006-05-24|date=2003-11-01; Cite web|url=|title=Linux Journal: 2004 Readers' Choice Awards|accessdate=2006-05-24|date=2004-11-01; Cite web|url=|title=Linux Journal: 2005 Readers' Choice Awards|accessdate=2006-05-24|date=2005-09-28]

Released under a software license compatible with the GNU General Public License, Vim is free and open source software. The program's license includes some charityware clauses. [ [ Vim documentation: uganda ] ]


Like vi, Vim's interface is based not on menus or icons but on commands given in a text user interface; its GUI mode, gVim, adds menus and toolbars for commonly used commands but the full functionality is still expressed through its command line mode.

For many users learning Vim may be slow initially, but once the basics are understood they progress quickly.Cite book|title=Vi IMproved (VIM)|id=ISBN 0-7357-1001-5|first=Steve|last=Oualline|publisher=New Riders Publishers |year=2001|month=April |url= ] To facilitate this, Vim has a built-in tutorial for beginners. There is also the Vim Users' Manual that details the basic and more advanced Vim features. This manual can be read from within Vim, or found online. [ [ Vim manual] at]

Vim also has a built-in help facility (using the :help command) that allows users to query and navigate through commands and features.

Modal editing

As a descendant of "vi", Vim is modal—a design choice that tends to confuse new users. All editors are modal in the general sense of having to distinguish insert and command inputs, but most others implement that modality through very different methods: command menus (mouse or keyboard driven), meta keys (simultaneous use of multiple keys, usually involving control key (CTRL) or alt key (ALT)), and mouse input. Vim, following "vi", is unique in that the entire keyboard is switched into and out of these modes. This allows, but does not require, one to perform all editing functions with no use of the mouse or menus and minimal use of meta keys. For touch-typists and those averse to the mouse, this can be a great benefit in power and efficiency.Fact|date=August 2008


Part of Vim's power is that it can be extensively customized. The basic interface can be controlled by the many options available, and the user can define personalized key mappings—often called macros—or abbreviations to automate sequences of keystrokes, or even call internal or user defined functions.

Vim script

There are many plugins available that will extend or add new functionality to Vim. These complex scripts are usually written in Vim's internal scripting language "vimscript". [ [ :help vim-script-intro] ] Vim also supports scripting using MzScheme, Perl, Python, Ruby, Tcl, and other languages.


There are projects bundling together complex scripts and customizations and aimed at turning Vim into a tool for a specific task or adding a major flavour to its behaviour. Examples include Cream which makes Vim behave like a click-and-type editor or [ VimOutliner] that provides a comfortable outliner for users of Unix-like systems.

Features and improvements over "vi"

Vim is almost fully "vi" compatible when in compatible mode, but Vim has many enhancements over "vi" which may or may not be available in compatible mode.Vim help system (type " [ :help] " within vim)]

Some of those enhancements include completion, comparison and merging of files (known as vimdiff), a comprehensive integrated help system, extended regular expressions, scripting languages (both native and through alternative scripting interpreters such as Perl, Python, Ruby, Tcl, etc.) including support for plugins, a graphical user interface (known as gvim), limited integrated development environment-like features, mouse interaction (both with and without the GUI), folding, editing of compressed or archived files in gzip, bzip2, zip, and tar format and files over network protocols such as SSH, FTP, and HTTP, session state preservation, spell checking, split (horizontal and vertical) and tabbed windows, unicode and other multi-language support, syntax highlighting, trans-session command, search, and cursor position histories, multiple level undo/redo history, and visual mode.

While "vi" was traditionally only available on Unix operating systems, Vim is very portable; there are versions for AmigaOS (the initial target platform), Atari MiNT, BeOS, MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista/Server 2008, IBM OS/2 and OS/390, MorphOS, OpenVMS, QNX, RISC OS, Unix, Linux, BSD, Mac OS and Mac OS X, etc. [" [ :help sys-file-list] "
cite web|url=|title=Vim Online: Downloads|accessdate=2007-01-07


(Note that some dates are approximate, [Dates were taken from the [ official Vim FTP site] .] development releases are not listed, and many minor version releases are not yet included in this list.)

See also

* List of text editors
* Comparison of text editors
* Editor war
* Cream (software)
* List of Unix programs
* Vimperator


External links

* [ Vim home page]
* [ Online Vim documentation]
* [ Vim Tips Wiki] at Wikia
* [irc:// #vim] on freenode
* [ Speaking UNIX: The new and improved Vim editor]

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