Vimprovements

published on March 26, 2015.
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One part where I always felt (and still feel) that I could improve on my Vim usage, is when moving around. I don’t use the mouse, I don’t use the arrow keys, but for a while now I felt that spamming hjkl to get from one place to another is not really efficient. To be honest, it is kind of easy to just press down jjjjjjj … to move down lines. Went a bit too far? Just kk back. But there has to be a better way.

First off, I installed vim-hardtime to break the habit of spamming hjkl. That plugin limits the number of times one can press hjkl in a set time frame. I have it set up to block me from moving for a second after pressing the same motion twice in a row. jj is OK, but if I want to do jjj, well…

And this gets annoying. I want to edit code, not sit around and wait!

Faster moving around

I know about relative line numbers. I tried using them. And I guess my brain is just not wired in such a way that I could find relative numbers easy to use.

The second plugin I installed is vim-easymotion. It is supposed to make moving around in Vim much easier. There’s a lot of stuff going on in there, it has a lot of features. For now, I use 2 bits from it - jump to anywhere with s and k and j to move in lines up and down. I especially like these in visual mode, makes selecting text real nice.

I started using : more to jump to specific lines, f and F to search on the current line, { and } to move in paragraphs. I’m also more comfortable with general search with / and ?.

One other pair of commands that help me reduce spamming jk is u and d to scroll the window up and down.

Faster working with files

The third plugin I installed is CtrlP. I stumbled upon it in a /r/vim thread and decided to try it out. Up until then I was using NERDTree exclusively to navigate around files and I can’t really remember when was the last time I hit n to open it since I have CtrlP. It’s just amazing to work with files now.

NERDTree still has it’s use cases, for example in a project where I don’t really know what files are in there, but for projects on which I work frequently… Oh boy! Wonderful stuff.

I left the default p for searching for files, but remapped <tab> to open CtrlP’s find buffer mode.

Misc

Other stuff I did to make working in Vim more comfortable…

I set leader to be . I had it as , for a long while, but realised that it’s to close on the keyboard to the . and I kept repeating the last command when I actually wanted to do some magical incantation.

I learned about :m[ove] to move and :co[py] to copy lines. Good stuff.

dap and cap pairs are also useful from time to time. They just simply delete, or change, around the current paragraph.

Finally, I added the following bit to my .vimrc to highlight the current line:

augroup CursorLine
    au!
    au VimEnter,WinEnter,BufWinEnter * setlocal cursorline
    au WinLeave * setlocal nocursorline
augroup End

So, that’s pretty much it. I don’t think that I’m super fast navigating around in vim, but it’s definitely better than some 3 months ago.

Next thing I want to tackle is using registers, and especially macros.

And read more of that nice :help holy-grail.

Thanks for reading! If you require help on a project of any kind, let's talk!

Robert Basic

Robert Basic

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