VIM is a great editor, but it’s defaults are a little lacking. Fortunately
it’s also extremely configurable. This leads many people (myself included),
to scour the internet for lines of internet wisdom to copy in paste into
.vimrc files until they get something that works for them. Before
you know it you have 300 lines of unintelligible gobblegook. In this post,
(which I’ve started writing in vanilla vim) I’m going to go line by line
through individual config items to construct a simple but usable
without too much magic or frills.
You can download the
.vimrc in full as a github gist
Tabs vs. Spaces
I’m a spaces guy, so let’s make vim use spaces instead of tabs. While we’re at it we should make tabs use 4 spaces by default (since I’m also a python guy)
set expandtab " tabs are spaces set shiftwidth=4 " size of indents in spaces set softtabstop=4 " simulate tabs with this many spaces
It’s possible to change the indent level for different filetypes:
It’s nice to have line numbers, so let’s turn those on. Once you do this it get’s annoying to select text with the mouse, though. So let’s also enable mouse in auto mode so that vim doesn’t select line numbers (and goes into visual mode).
" Line numbers and mouse set number " enable line numbers set mouse=a " enable mouse in auto mode
Searching in vim by default is pretty good but there are a few options to make it even better.
" Searching set incsearch " don't wait for the enter key to start searching set hlsearch " highlight search results
Syntax highlighting and themes
It’d be nice to have some pretty syntax highlighting, so we’ll enable it and also set a nicer theme than default.
" Syntax and colors syntax enable " turn on syntax highlighting colorscheme slate " use the slate theme
You can navigate tabs in vim using gT and gt to move backwards and forwards, respectively. But what about navigating to the previously used tab? I’ll admit, what follows is still magic to me.
" Map gl to the previously used tab let g:lasttab = 1 nmap gl :exe "tabn ".g:lasttab<CR> au TabLeave * let g:lasttab = tabpagenr()
Trimming trailing whitespace
If you’re editor doesn’t trim trailing whitespace and you work with other people using version control, shame on you. The following command will trim trailing whitespace from all lines in a file. Additionally, we will call it every time we save the file.
" Strip trailing whitespace fun! TrimWhitespace() let l:save = winsaveview() %s/\s\+$//e call winrestview(l:save) endfun autocmd BufWritePre * :call TrimWhitespace() " Call TrimWhitespace on save
Theses are settings I find useful, but don’t fit in any other category
" Misc set wildmenu " show tab completions for commands inline " Files to ignore for various auto completion commands set wildignore+=*/tmp/*,*.so,*.swp,*.zip,*.pyc,__pycache__,node_modules " Remap the dd shortcut to not nuke whatever was in the yank buffer nnoremap d "_d vnoremap d "_d
That concludes all the settings I feel make vim a useful text editor. If you want to use vim as a full fledged IDE, there are hundreds of extra settings and plugins to choose from. In my old age, I much prefer simplicity. If I need a fully fledged IDE, I’ll reach for something like sublime text instead.