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Babak K. Shandiz
Babak K. Shandiz

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Basic Vim Shortcuts in VS Code

Vim is great. Once you've mastered its brilliant way of cursor navigation and get used to some basic keyboard shortcuts, you'll uncover a significant improvement in your coding time productivity. Maybe that's a bit exaggerated, but still the effort surely pays off.

However, I use VS Code in my daily work and am too satisfied with it. To name a few, simplicity, great performance, rich set of commands, diverse extensions and support for various languages are among the top revered characteristics of VS Code.

Vim in VS Code

Some time ago, I wondered if I can mix the merits of Vim into VS Code, so spent my time on test driving several extensions. The result was not promising. Actually, for me, the most wanted feature of Vim was its cursor navigation method but the extensions provided many more Vim-like features which necessitated more complicated user interaction. Disappointed of extensions, I set out to define my own customized keyboard shortcuts to make things work as expected. Surprisingly it worked well and got improved over time which is why I've gradually got addicted to it.

In this post I'm listing my configured keyboard shortcuts, hoping you'll find them beneficial to your productivity. I'll be glad to hear your suggestions. 💚

Shortcuts ⌨️

The table below shows various navigations and their corresponding keyboard shortcut. I've listed the content to be appended to your keyboard.json file at the end of the post.

Action Shortcut New shortcut
Cursor/item left left ctrl cmd h
Cursor/item down down ctrl cmd j
Cursor/item up up ctrl cmd k
Cursor/item right right ctrl cmd l
Word left ctrl left ctrl cmd alt h
Word right ctrl right ctrl cmd alt l
Move to line beginning home ctrl alt 0
Move to line end end ctrl alt 4
Delete previous backspace ctrl cmd space
Delete next del ctrl cmd shift space

👍 You can also use these shortcuts on file explorer, sidebar lists/trees (e.g., find in files or source control,) auto-completion lists and breadcrumbs.

👍 Hold shift and/or alt keys with these shortcuts to select text or move by word.

👍 Hold alt keys with delete next/previous shortcuts to delete by word.

👍 To use shortcuts on the command palette lists, you need to first press tab key.

Get the shortcuts

Type and run Preferences: Show Keyboard Shortcuts (JSON) in the command palette which opens A JSON file named keybindings.json. prepend the content of this Github Gist to it, save, and you're done; this way currently defined shortcuts won't affect.

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