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Alex Pushkarev
Alex Pushkarev

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Vim cheatsheet

Words of introduction

Vim is considered an advanced editor for programmers and those who mastered Vim rarely would want to switch back.

I was avoiding Vim for some time, instead, I was relying on the IDE capabilities for text editing, but throughout my work experience, I realised one thing - IDEs come and go, while Vim remains. Often I had to switch IDEs and platforms, having to learn shortcuts again and again.

So I took time to master Vim and it turned out to be not so difficult. In fact, most of the Vim power can be unleashed with a very small subset of Vim commands.

I don't see much sense in mastering all the immense capabilities of Vim/IntelliJ/You name it. However, there's a subset that is very useful for me personally. I am using the Vim plugin in VScode and Jetbrains products and customized Vim as well. Below is the list of the commands/shortcuts I personally find useful for me.

To the best of my knowledge, those would work the same both in Vim plugins and Vim itself.

Disclaimer: this is a cheatsheet, not a tutorial, so it assumes the reader has some basic understanding of Vim.

General commands/shortcuts

Those are the very basics things, such as opening the file or escaping Vim.


Action Command
Exit w/o saving :q!
Exit from all splits qa
Exit and save :wq!
Go to normal mode ESC or CTRL+C
Repeat last change .
Open file :open {filename}
Execute terminal command :!command

Splits (tabs)

Action Command
Open file in vertical split :vsp {filename}
Navigate between splits CTRL+W (corresponding arrow)

Visual mode

Visual mode is used to select different parts of texts

Action Command
go to the character-wise visual mode v
go to the line-wise visual mode V
to select "block" CTRL+v

Multiple cursors

Note: works in VSCode, doesn't work in GVIM

Add multiple cursors

  1. Select lines you want to change (using visual mode)
  2. type I

Add cursor for word

  1. move cursor to the start of the word
  2. type gb to add another cursor
  3. repeat :) then use c, ESC or d or whatever


Navigating by words

Action Command
next word w
next WORD W
previous word b
previous WORD B
next end of word e
jump to matching bracket %

Navigating by paragraphs

Action Command
next paragraph }
previous paragraph {
go to a specific line {line}gg

Start/end of line and file

Action Command
start of the line 0
first non-space symbol of the line ^
end of the line $
go to the top of the file gg
go to the end of the file G


Important: go to the definition (this does not work in GVIM): gd

we can always append numbers, for example:

2w #go to the second word
4(arrow down) #go 4 lines down
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode


Action Command
search forward /{pattern}
search backward ?{pattern}
continue search forward n
continue search backward N
find symbol on the line f{symbol}


Action Command
replace first occurrence of foo with bar :s/foo/bar/
replace all occurrences of foo with bar in file :%s/foo/bar/g
replace all occurrences of foo with bar in line :s/foo/bar/g
replace with empty string :s/foo//g
replace with confirmation :s/foo/bar/gc

confirmation mode:

  • y replace
  • l replace and quit
  • n skip
  • q quit
  • a replace all

Note: search pattern can be regex!

:%s/^foo.*/Vim is the best/gc
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Editing text

Insert mode

Action Command
Go to insert mode i
Append text at the end of line A
Add line below and go to insert mode o
Add line above and go to insert mode O
Remove last character typed CTRL+H
Remove last word typed CTRL+W
Remove last line typed CTRL+U

Editing commands

Action Command
copy (yanking) y
delete d
replace selected (word, line, whatever) c
Copy whole line Y
duplicate line YP or Yp
delete the whole line dd
delete paragraph dp
delete until end of line D
paste p
change (similar to d + i) c
add indentation >>
remove indentation <<
format code ==


  • The unnamed register " is where you copy and cut stuff to, when you don’t explicitly specify a register. The default register if you will.
  • The named registers a-z are registers you can use explicitly to copy and cut text at will
  • The yank register 0 stores the last thing you have yanked (copied)
  • The cut registers 1-9 store the last 9 things you cut by using either the delete or the change command
Action Command
To copy to register "{register name}y{motion}
To cut to register "{register name}d{motion}
To paste from register "{register name}p


change the text inside quotes: ci"

change the text inside brackets: ci)

change the text inside brackets: ci}

(you get the idea?)

Some general information

Editing commands are used in combination with navigation, just like that:

   what to do (delete, change...)
     /      how many times
    /         /
   v         v
           where to perform
             the action
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

For example, delete two words: d2w

Undoing stuff

Undo: u

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