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I could never decide between Vim or Emacs, so I ended up learning neither really well. Maybe I'll end up having to learn both. Update: After all these years, I think emacs is now the superior choice; vim is starting to feel a little too ad-hoc to me.

  • Where are all of the good vim articles? Learn Vim as game with VimGolf.
  • Starting off, you might want to run through vimtutor. It's boring to me, despite what other people say.
  • Some files end in vba; these are Vimballs.
  • To show line numbers, use :set nu.
  • To word wrap, use :set wrap, then :set linebreak.
  • Vim can be scripted using Python. Check with echo has("python"). The Windows binary off the Vim site doesn't have it enabled, unfortunately, though gvim does!

vimrc Locations in Windows

When translating from Linux to Windows, finding the runtime path (rtp) can be a bit tricky. See :help rtp in Vim for more information.

~/.vimrc  =  $HOME/_vimrc 
~/.vim    =  $HOME/vimfiles 



  • I really like Emacs [Org-mode], at least in principle, and wanted something similar in Vim. So now there's vim-orgmode, but for the life of me I can't even figure out how to get the plugin to run. A productivity tool that turned out to be a huge waste of time.


The beeping is really annoying. Turn it off with set noerrorbells visualbell t_vb= in your vimrc.

Plugin Management

  • Pathogen makes it super easy to install plugins and runtime files in their own private directories. Use this.

Vimball Installation

Vimballs are an alternate solution to plugin management, but most plugins don't have this capability. They are also hard to maintain.

vim tail-03.vba
:so %

On Windows, the plugins seem to be going under C:\Program Files (x86)\Vim\vimfiles.


  • Blackboard. This color scheme is used by Vimcasts.
  • vividchalk, used in the PeepCode Smash Into Vim series.
  • * IR_Black, based off TextMate. I like this one too.