Vim Tips Wiki

This is the starting point for all editors of the Vim Tips wiki.

  • Please see our policy introduction for how-to information.
  • To follow changes to this wiki, and to look for new events and problem edits, use recent changes.
  • To discuss a tip, please edit the tip page and add to the Comments at the bottom (see the discussion guidelines for why we avoid the discussion pages for tips).
  • On other pages (for example, this page), you are welcome to edit the discussion page to talk about the content.
  • If you want help editing, you could start with the tutorial on the Central Wikia, or see our editing help.
  • There are more help pages in the help category.
  • And even more on

More about the Vim community can be found at

Asking questions[]

On this wiki, we discuss how to improve tips, but we don't discuss how to use Vim.

Questions about Vim should be sent to the Vim mailing list: subscribe to the appropriate list here. After subscribing, your first message to the list needs to be approved by a manager, so you may need to wait several hours before the message is sent. A description of each list follows, together with the name and URL of the mailing list archive at Google Groups:

  • – vim_use: General questions, how to use Vim, problems with scripts.
  • – vim_dev: Bug reports, how to build Vim, new features and development issues.
  • – vim_mac: Use and development of Vim on the Mac OS.

Or, ask at reddit.

The newsgroup comp.editors also discusses Vim – see its Google Groups archive. IRC users should join the #vim channel on the Libera Chat network.

Questions about the Vim Tips wiki should be asked at the Talk (Discussion) page of any active user or here. You could view the recent changes, and click any blue Talk link (blue links refer to pages which exist), or edit the talk page of any active user.

We don't encourage questions about using Vim on the wiki because they distract from our work of improving the tip collection. In addition, while there are currently only a handful of active maintainers on the wiki, the mailing list, newsgroup and IRC channel listed above have thousands of active members who can all offer good support for Vim.

With all this in mind, you are welcome to add a comment to the bottom of a tip pointing out any deficiencies that you have found in the content of the tip (please don't use the talk pages).

Creating a screenshot[]

It's usually best to use text to explain your problem (Vim users generally like text!). However, you may occasionally need to make a screenshot to illustrate a bug, make a feature request, or demonstrate some point.

Use the following instructions for your platform.

Be sure to save the screenshot as a PNG. PNG is a widely supported format with a nice compression ratio, and unlike JPG is "lossless"; thus, others will be able to see any fine detail (like text) in your image without problems caused by the compression.

Upload the image somewhere, such as Flickr or Imagebin, and provide the URL in your post to the mailing list.

Following (watching) changes[]

In the sidebar, click Recent changes to see a list of all recent changes that have occurred on this wiki. Logged-on users can customise the default settings: click "MORE" at the top of any page (on the right of your user name), then select "Preferences". In your preferences, select the "Recent changes" tab. You can also find Preferences by clicking "Special pages" in the sidebar.

Logged-on users can choose to follow pages of interest: at the top of any article, click "Follow" ("Follow" changes to "Following" after the page is added to your followlist; click "Following" to unfollow). If you follow a page, you are automatically also following its talk (discussion) page.

Following pages is a Wikia feature that makes your watchlist public. In standard MediaWiki (as used at Wikipedia) your watchlist is private (no one apart from developers can see what pages are on your watchlist at Wikipedia). However, the default at Wikia is that your followlist (the same list as your watchlist) can be viewed by anyone at your user page (a "Pages I'm Following" box shows some of the list, and the "Followed pages" tab lists them all). The followlist is also available at

Your followlist can be made private in your Preferences: the "Followed pages" tab (in Preferences) includes "Make my followed pages lists private" (this setting applies to all Wikia wikis).

Viewing a followlist shows a list of clickable page titles. Viewing a watchlist shows the same list, but also shows recent changes (up to 30 days old) for each watched page. In addition, the watchlist page allows editing which pages are included (titles can easily be removed or added). Your watchlist is available at My watchlist (which can be found by clicking "Special pages" in the sidebar).

When creating or editing a page, there is a "Watch this page" option at the bottom, next to the "Preview" button.

Wikia will send you an email for each change that occurs to a followed page (if "User profile" in your Preferences includes an email address, and if you have not changed the default "E-mail me when a page I'm following is changed" at the same location). The "Followed pages" tab in your Preferences has further settings. (At Wikipedia, the option to send an email for watched pages is disabled due to the enormous quantity of changes that occur.)

For more information, see Help:Followed pages and Help:Watchlist.

Downloading tips[]

There is no good way to download all tips because:

  • Any download will become out of date when tips are improved on the wiki.
  • Tips are stored as "wikitext" which can be downloaded but is not intended for reading.
  • There is no simple procedure to obtain files with a clean html version of each tip.
  • Links in downloaded files will not work.

A tool like wget can be used to download the wikitext for individual tips. For example, the following creates file 1.wik containing the wikitext for Searching:

wget -O 1.wik ""

Wikia periodically creates database dumps with a snapshot of the entire Vim Tips wiki in xml format. Each dump contains all tips, templates, user pages, talk pages, and more. Image files and deleted pages are not included. Two dumps (gz compressed files) are available:

  • pages_current.xml.gz – The most-recent revision of each page.
  • pages_full.xml.gz – All revisions of each page.

Links to download each file are at the bottom of Special:Statistics. In November 2009, the current dump is under 2MB (expands to 7MB), and the full dump is 6MB (expands to 67MB). If MediaWiki is installed (on Linux), either dump can be imported so you have a local web server that displays the html for all Vim tips, with working links.

It is possible to download an xml file containing the wikitext of specified pages. At Special pages, choose Export pages. For example, you could enter "Searching" in the Add pages from category box, then click the Add button, then click the Export button. The result will be an xml file (not compressed) with each page in Category:Searching.