Ryan Selk Software Developer


Underused Vim Features

I was first introduced to Vim 11 years ago by a Computer Science professor I was working for. He told me after I learned vim, I would be hooked. He was correct. Below are a couple of features I feel are often underused or even unknown to many vim users.

Vim Completion

Vim has very powerful completion commands. They are controlled with Ctrl-p which finds the previous match, and Ctrl-n which finds the next match. Vim can complete many different things including lines and filepaths.

Line Completion

Ctrl-x-l then select with Ctrl-p and Ctrl-n

I typically use it by typing a few characters, pressing Ctrl-x-l and navigating with Ctrl-p and Ctrl-n.

File Completion

Ctrl-x-f then select with Ctrl-p and Ctrl-n

I typically use it by typing Ctrl-x-f, selecting the directory I want and continuing down the tree with Ctrl-x-f.

Vim Expression Evaluation

When in insert mode, you can get vim to work as a calculator! While in insert mode simply use Ctrl-r then the = key. This will open a prompt on the bottom where you can type what you want evaluated. Press enter to get the result in your buffer.


As always, vim has extensive documentation. The above can be found in much greater detail in vims documentation.

:help ins-completion
:help i_ctrl-r

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