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A Great Vim Cheat Sheet

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)

Editing text


Marking text (visual mode)






Cursor movement

Editing text

Visual mode

File Tabs


Text Objects


Making VIM actually useful

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

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

Visual Studio Code

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.

Using the system clipboard

Sublime Text


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

Additional resources