Vim Cheat Sheet Mac

Vim cheat sheet mac and cheese

My editor of choice, simply due to the fact that I find it extremely efficient (and readily available everywhere).


Vim is a clone, with additions, of Bill Joy’s vi text editor program for Unix.Vim cheat sheet tries to provide a basic reference for beginner and advanced developers, lower the entry barrier for newcomers, and help veterans refresh the old tricks. Ultimate Vim Cheat Sheet: Learn to Use Vim Like a Pro Since the 1970s, Vi and Vim are popular amongst developers and are present on most UNIX-based servers. These free and open source modal text editors can be a bit hard to use at first, but they are extremely powerful. Contribute to macwoj/vim-cheatsheet development by creating an account on GitHub. Delete and change are similar but change will delete the item and switch in to insert mode. Delete will only delete. Iphone to iphone green text message. For both, you can work 'inside' an element, or on 'all' of the element, signified with the keys a or i.

2021vim-iceda plugin for Clojure support
PortsMacVimI don't normally use it, since you pick up all sorts of nasty menu habits that won't help you one whit when you're working remotely.
MacVim with a file browserseems to be abandoned, but it was brilliant.
Themespastie themeconverted from TextMate
Tools2020Vimackeyboard navigation for the macOS UI
TutorialsHistory and effective use of vima great write-up

Using vim as a man pager (useful for obscure UNIX variants:

Also of note is vimdiff, which everyone keeps forgetting about.

Cheat Sheets

Vim Cheat Sheet Mac

For newbies, taken from this graphical vi-vim Cheat Sheet and Tutorial:

The full sheet is here.

I’ve compiled a list of essential Vim commands that I use every day. I have then given a few instructions on how to make Vim as great as it should be, because it’s painful without configuration.


Cursor movement (Normal/Visual Mode)

  • hjkl - Arrow keys
  • w / b - Next/previous word
  • W / B - Next/previous word (space seperated)
  • e / ge - Next/previous end of word
  • 0 / $ - Start/End of line
  • ^ - First non-blank character of line (same as 0w)

Editing text

  • i / a - Start insert mode at/after cursor
  • I / A - Start insert mode at the beginning/end of the line
  • o / O - Add blank line below/above current line
  • Esc or Ctrl+[ - Exit insert mode
  • d - Delete
  • dd - Delete line
  • c - Delete, then start insert mode
  • cc - Delete line, then start insert mode


  • Operators also work in Visual Mode
  • d - Deletes from the cursor to the movement location
  • c - Deletes from the cursor to the movement location, then starts insert mode
  • y - Copy from the cursor to the movement location
  • > - Indent one level
  • < - Unindent one level
  • You can also combine operators with motions. Ex: d$ deletes from the cursor to the end of the line.

Marking text (visual mode)

  • v - Start visual mode
  • V - Start linewise visual mode
  • Ctrl+v - Start visual block mode
  • Esc or Ctrl+[ - Exit visual mode


  • yy - Yank (copy) a line
  • p - Paste after cursor
  • P - Paste before cursor
  • dd - Delete (cut) a line
  • x - Delete (cut) current character
  • X - Delete (cut) previous character
  • d / c - By default, these copy the deleted text


  • :w - Write (save) the file, but don’t quit
  • :wq - Write (save) and quit
  • :q - Quit (fails if anything has changed)
  • :q! - Quit and throw away changes


  • /pattern - Search for pattern
  • ?pattern - Search backward for pattern
  • n - Repeat search in same direction
  • N - Repeat search in opposite direction
  • :%s/old/new/g - Replace all old with new throughout file (gn is better though)
  • :%s/old/new/gc - Replace all old with new throughout file with confirmations


  • u - Undo
  • Ctrl+r - Redo


Cursor movement

  • Ctrl+d - Move down half a page
  • Ctrl+u - Move up half a page
  • } - Go forward by paragraph (the next blank line)
  • { - Go backward by paragraph (the next blank line)
  • gg - Go to the top of the page
  • G - Go the bottom of the page
  • : [num] [enter] - Go to that line in the document
  • ctrl+e / ctrl+y - Scroll down/up one line

Character search

  • f [char] - Move forward to the given char
  • F [char] - Move backward to the given char
  • t [char] - Move forward to before the given char
  • T [char] - Move backward to before the given char
  • ; / , - Repeat search forwards/backwards

Editing text

  • J - Join line below to the current one
  • r [char] - Replace a single character with the specified char (does not use Insert mode)

Visual mode

  • O - Move to other corner of block
  • o - Move to other end of marked area

File Tabs

  • :e filename - Edit a file
  • :tabe - Make a new tab
  • gt - Go to the next tab
  • gT - Go to the previous tab
  • :vsp - Vertically split windows
  • ctrl+ws - Split windows horizontally
  • ctrl+wv - Split windows vertically
  • ctrl+ww - Switch between windows
  • ctrl+wq - Quit a window


  • Marks allow you to jump to designated points in your code.
  • m{a-z} - Set mark {a-z} at cursor position
  • A capital mark {A-Z} sets a global mark and will work between files
  • '{a-z} - Move the cursor to the start of the line where the mark was set
  • ' - Go back to the previous jump location

Text Objects

  • Say you have def (arg1, arg2, arg3), where your cursor is somewhere in the middle of the parenthesis.
  • di( deletes everything between the parenthesis. That says “change everything inside the nearest parenthesis”. Without text objects, you would need to do T(dt).


  • . - Repeat last command
  • Ctrl+r + 0 in insert mode inserts the last yanked text (or in command mode)
  • gv - reselect (select last selected block of text, from visual mode)
  • % - jumps between matching () or {}

Vim is quite unpleasant out of the box. It’s an arcane experience:

  • Autocomplete is missing
  • System clipboard is not used
  • Act of typing :w to save is cumbersome
  • Mouse doesn’t work
  • Management of multiple files is tricky
  • Ability to indent multiple lines is missing

It does have a significant strength though: your fingers can stay on the main keyboard keys to do most editing actions. This is faster and more ergonomic. I find that the toughest part about VIM is guiding people towards getting the benefits of VIM without the drawbacks. Here are two ideas on how to go about this.

Switch caps lock and escape

  • I highly recommend you switch the mapping of your caps lock and escape keys. You’ll love it, promise! Switching the two keys is platform dependent.

Visual Studio Code

  • VSCode is the simplest way to give you a fantastic editor that also gives you the benefits of VIM. Just install the VIM extension.
  • I made a few slight changes which improved the experience for me.

Configure native VIM

For all the given limitations, you’ll need to find a solution. You can either solve the issues one by one, or you can use a reference .vimrc settings file that fix most of the issues out-of-the-box.

  • My .vimrc file could be a good starting point. Honestly, it’s a bit old and not the best. I now use VSCode mainly so I haven’t kept a great vimrc.

Using the system clipboard

  • '+y copy a selection to the system clipboard
  • '+p paste from the system clipboard
  • If this doesn’t work, it’s probably because Vim was not built with the system clipboard option. To check, run vim --version and see if +clipboard exists. If it says -clipboard, you will not be able to copy from outside of Vim.
    • For Mac users, homebrew install Vim with the clipboard option. Install homebrew and then run brew install vim.
      • then move the old Vim binary: $ mv /usr/bin/vim /usr/bin/vimold
      • restart your terminal and you should see vim --version now with +clipboard

Sublime Text

  • Another option is to use Vintageous in Sublime Text (version 3). This gives you Vim mode inside Sublime. I suggest this (or a similar setup with the Atom editor) if you aren’t a Vim master. Check out Advanced Vim if you are.
  • Vintageous is great, but I suggest you change a few settings to make it better.
    • Clone this repository to ~/.config/sublime-text-3/Packages/Vintageous, or similar. Then check out the “custom” branch.
      • Alternatively, you can get a more updated Vintageous version by cloning the official repository and then copying over this patch.
    • Change the user settings (User/Preferences.sublime-settings) to include:
      • 'caret_style': 'solid'
      • This will make the cursor not blink, like in Vim.
      • Sublime Text might freeze when you do this. It’s a bug; just restart Sublime Text after changing the file.
    • ctrl+r in Vim means “redo”. But there is a handy Ctrl + R shortcut in Sublime Text that gives an “outline” of a file. I remapped it to alt+r by putting this in the User keymap
      • { 'keys': ['alt+r'], 'command': 'show_overlay', 'args': {'overlay': 'goto', 'text': '@'} },
    • Mac users: you will not have the ability to hold down a navigation key (like holding j to go down). To fix this, run the commands specified here:
  • Now you should be able to restart sublime and have a great Vim environment! Sweet Dude.


Printable Vim Cheat Sheet

I don’t personally use these yet, but I’ve heard other people do!

  • :wqa - Write and quit all open tabs (thanks Brian Zick)

Additional resources

Vim Cheat Sheet Mac And Cheese

  • Practical Vim is a fantastic resource on many of the useful hidden features of vim.