Vim Basics

Save file and exit in Vim

To go to insert mode: i
To save: [Esc] and zz
To write and quit: [Esc] and :wq

You need to press [Esc] key followed by the colon (:) before typing the following commands:

q Quit
q! Quit without saving changes i.e. discard changes
r fileName Read data from file called fileName
wq Write and quit (save and exit)
w fileName Write to file called fileName (save as)
w! fileName Overwrite to file called fileName (save as forcefully)

e filename.txt open filename.txt. This could be a path to filename or just the filename.


h, j, k, l to move around. Or just use arrow keys.

f, F, t, T

f Move forward. For example: f then a will take you to the next a. F Move backward t and T are simliar to f and F. The only difference is they place the cursor before the next a instead of exactly on it.

w, b, e

w Move to the beginning of next word b Move to the beginning of the previous word e Move to the end of current or next word

0, _, $

0 Move to the far-left on the current line _ Move to the first character on the current line $ Move to the last character on the current line

gg, G

gg Top of the file G Bottom of the file

{, }

{ Beginning of Paragraph } End of Paragraph

Cut, copy and paste

  • Go to Visual/Default mode by pressing esc and v
  • V to select an entire line, d to cut it, p to paste it
  • d (aka delete) is for cutting and y (aka yank) is copying



Defult mode. This is the mode for moving around files. You can always get to the normal mode by pressing the [Esc] key.


This mode is for typing. Press i to go to insert mode.


This mode is for selecting things. Press v to go to visual mode.


d, D

Delete lines d Delete d then w Deletes till the end of the word d then $ Deletes till the end of the line d then 0 Deletes all the way back to the start of the line D Deletes the whole line

x, X

Delete a single character x Delete the character under the cursor X Delete the character before the cursor

Case swapping

~ Swap the case of the character under the cursor v then $ then ~ to change the case of the whole line

Repeat, Undo, Redo

. Repeats the last action you did u Undo ctrl+r for Redo

:s followed by /, ? or &

Search and Replace

:%s/amazing/awesome Search this document for amazing and replace it with awesome :%s/and/\& Search this document for and and replace it with &. Notice that you need to escape & :%s Search this document :%s/and/but/g The /g in the end means change it globally (everywhere in the file), not just the first instance.