Cheating with Vim

2 min read


Will Puckett

Last week, I decided to have an affair with the text editor of my youth: Vim. No matter how thoroughly I work to assimilate a command's syntax, I always have to refresh after some time away.

Luckily, Rico Sta. Cruz (the creator of Transit amongst other things) has assembled the end all be all of cheat sheet collections. You've probably happened upon it in web searches already. Rico is amazing not only at summarizing pertinent information, but making it visually accessible (his summary of bash substitutions is invaluable). What a super star.

His summary of bash substitutions is invaluable.

He's also made the project available on github, meaning one could easily assemble an ePub of the entire site for offline reference.

In case you were wondering, Vim and I are getting along better than ever (thanks to Rico's counseling). Getting the file browser working was huge. At first I went with NERDTree, but it was a little heavy handed, and ultimately the built in browser, netrw met my needs and proved to feel better for me as it's easier to use when I bounce around different systems and containers in which I don't want to install additional software.

Vim has long been responsive to mouse clicks (:set mouse=a). What I hadn't realized was that the team added touch controls in mid 2018. Adding the following to my .vimrc (à la Dain Hall) puts the icing on the cake, giving me a touch responsive editor on practically any system.

set mouse=a         " tell vim to recognize mouse commands in "all" modes
set ttymouse=xterm2 " tell vim you're using xterm, this isn't necessary but I believe improves performance
set ttyfast         " improve fluidity of mouse commands, this isn't necessary but I believe improves performance
set paste           " don't mess up the indenting of pasted text

If you're tired of running into limits with your text editor, take a minute to rediscover the joys of not being able to find a limit to your text editor, and the wide, wide, wide wide wide world of Vim. After all, what other editor lets you play Killer Sheep when you need a distraction?