May 29, 2024
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Learn How To Use Vim Editor On Linux

Are you a Linux user looking to enhance your text editing skills? Look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the process of using the Vim editor on Linux with the help of Vimtutor. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, this tutorial will provide you with the necessary knowledge to effectively navigate and edit text files using Vim.

What is Vim?

Vim is a powerful and highly configurable text editor that comes pre-installed on most Linux distributions. It is known for its efficiency and flexibility, making it a favorite among developers and sysadmins. Vim offers a wide range of features that allow for efficient text manipulation, coding, and editing.

Why Learn Vim?

You might be wondering, with so many text editors available, why should you invest your time in learning Vim? Well, here are a few compelling reasons:

  • Vim is available on virtually all Linux distributions, making it highly accessible.
  • Once you become proficient with Vim, you can significantly increase your productivity due to its efficient command-based editing.
  • Vim offers extensive customization options, allowing you to tailor the editor to suit your workflow and preferences.
  • Knowing Vim can be advantageous in situations where graphical text editors are unavailable or not practical, such as when working on remote servers.

Getting Started

Before diving into Vim, it’s helpful to understand the two main modes of operation: the command mode and the insert mode. In the command mode, you can navigate, delete, copy, and perform other operations on the text. The insert mode, as the name suggests, allows you to insert and edit text.

To start Vim, open a terminal and type the following command:

$ vim

This will launch Vim and present you with an empty file to work with. If you want to open an existing file, you can specify the file name as an argument:

$ vim filename

Basic Vim Commands

Now that you have Vim up and running, let’s explore some basic commands to get you started:

Moving the Cursor

To move the cursor within the text, you can use the following commands:

  • h – Move left
  • j – Move down
  • k – Move up
  • l – Move right

Entering Insert Mode

To enter the insert mode and start typing, press the i key. You can now type and edit the text just like in a regular text editor.

Saving and Quitting

To save your changes and exit Vim, use the following commands:

  • :w – Save the file
  • :q – Quit Vim
  • :wq – Save and quit Vim

These are just a few basic commands to get you started with Vim. As you progress, you’ll discover more powerful features and commands that can help you become a proficient Vim user.

Advanced Vim Techniques

Once you have mastered the basic commands, you can delve into more advanced techniques that Vim has to offer. Here are a few notable ones:

Searching and Replacing

Vim provides powerful search and replace capabilities. To search for a specific term within the text, use the following command:


Replace search_term with the term you want to find. Pressing n will take you to the next occurrence, and N will take you to the previous one.

To replace a term with another, you can use the following command:


Using Marks

Marks allow you to navigate to specific points in a file. To set a mark at the current cursor position, type m followed by a letter. For example, to set a mark at position a, type ma. To jump back to the mark, use `a (backtick) followed by the mark letter.

Working with Multiple Files

Vim enables you to work with multiple files simultaneously. You can open a new file in a new buffer using the following command:

:e filename

To switch between open buffers, use the following command:


These advanced techniques are just a glimpse of what Vim is capable of. By exploring the extensive documentation and practicing regularly, you can master Vim and become a proficient text editor.

Launch vimtutor for an interactive tutorial

If you’re a Linux user eager to learn Vim interactively, you can take advantage of a helpful tool called Vimtutor. Launching Vimtutor in your Linux terminal allows you to embark on a guided tour that introduces you to the fundamental concepts and commands of Vim. This interactive tutorial provides hands-on practice and explanations, making it an excellent starting point for beginners. By typing the command “vimtutor” in your terminal, you can begin your journey to mastering Vim in a user-friendly and interactive manner.

$ vimtutor

So, don’t hesitate to give it a try and unlock the power of Vim through this immersive learning experience.

Customizing Vim

One of the greatest strengths of Vim is its customizability. You can tailor the editor to suit your preferences and workflow. Vim provides various options for customization:

Vim Configuration File

You can create a .vimrc file in your home directory to store your custom settings. This file is read by Vim at startup, allowing you to define key mappings, enable plugins, and configure various options.

Vim Plugins

Vim has a vibrant plugin ecosystem that extends its functionality. You can install plugins to enhance your editing experience, such as syntax highlighting, auto-completion, and more. Popular plugin managers like Vundle and Pathogen make it easy to install and manage plugins.

Color Schemes

Vim supports different color schemes that change the appearance of the editor. You can experiment with various color schemes until you find one that suits your taste. To set a color scheme, add the following line to your .vimrc file:

colorscheme scheme_name

Replace scheme_name with the name of the color scheme you want to use.


Congratulations! You have learned the basics of using Vim on Linux with the help of Vimtutor. Vim is a powerful text editor that offers tremendous flexibility and efficiency. By familiarizing yourself with the various commands and techniques, you can boost your productivity and streamline your text editing workflow.

Remember, mastering Vim takes time and practice. Be patient and continue exploring the vast capabilities of this versatile text editor. With dedication, you’ll soon become a proficient Vim user.

So go ahead, open up your terminal, launch Vim, and start editing your way to text editing mastery!

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