Learning Vim for Beginners

A list of online tutorials and resources to help you learn Vim, the favorite text editor of programmers.

February 23, 2015

Vim, or Vi Improved, is an extremely powerful text editor that lets you do almost everything using keyboard shortcuts. You can replace text in a document, move or delete lines, automate edits and more without ever reaching for the mouse. Vim is the favorite source code editor of programmers but there’s no reason why you cannot use the editor for your regular text-editing tasks from writing down ideas to composing long emails.

If you have always used a graphic text editor like Notepad or TextEdit, you are likely to find Vim confusing but spend some time with the editor and it will be difficult for you to go back. Entire books have been written on Vim but just learn the basic commands, practice daily and you’ll find yourself more efficient and productive.

Vim Tutorials

Here are a list of online tutorials and other helpful resources to help you learn Vim.

1. OpenVim – An interactive tutorial for learning the basics of Vim. Switch to the Practice page to test your existing Vim skills.

2. Vim Adventures – An online puzzle game for learning and memorizing Vim commands. You are a blinking cursor and you’ve to navigate the maze with your keyboard. If you are stuck, you can always type :help for an hint.

3. Vim Genius – This a flashcard style game to help you learn the basics of Vim. There are dedicated lessons for learning the motion keys (h,j,k,l) and for mastering copy-paste in vim.

4. Learn to Love Vim – The Linux Voice magazine has put together a video to get you started with Vim.

5. Vim Basics – Derek Wyatt has produced a bunch of video tutorials (screencasts) around teaching Vim. A great resources for novice users who would prefer learning Vim by watching than reading.

6. Learning Vim – Mike Coutermarsh covers getting up and running, and eventually productive with Vim. The PDF of the talk is available on Speakerdeck.

7. Vim – Precision Editing – Drew Neil of Vimcasts.org walks you through Vim and how the text editor is optimized for mouseless operations. Must watch if need convincing why you need to know Vim.

8. Practical Vim – The only book you’d ever need for mastering Vim.

9. Vim Tutorial – The official Vim documentation includes a tutorial that you can also access from the Vim program through the :vimtutor command.

10. Vim Cheat Sheet – Print this because you’ll need it later.

11. A Byte of Vim – A free PDF ebook to help you learn the Vim editor.

12. Vim 101 – A collection of byte-sized text tutorials that cover the various aspects of editing with Vim. You should also watch these screencasts for a visual walkthrough.

If you spend a lot of time typing text, learning Vim will be totally worth the effort. I wrote this article inside Sublime Text with Vim-like key bindings.