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It Is Okay to Not Grok Vim

Lots of people who start using vim attempt to learn all of it. There are oodles of YouTube videos about how to maximize your efficiency using vim. It’s a bit of a trope.

I want to tell you to ignore that whole vibe. It is okay to not grok vim. You don’t need to know every single shortcut. In fact, you only really need a handful of commands.

It is entirely possible to write code, or a blog post, or a novel, just using the very basic motion commands. If you can enter insert mode via i, escape it via esc, and navigate around via hjkl then you’re pretty much good to go. Of course, you’ll want to save your work to via esc + :write foo.txt. If you want to get out of vim, use esc + :quit. If you need guidance, check out esc + :help. But, like, that’s it.

Vim is a robust tool. It has a vast array of interesting and useful features. For example, I love the ability to have a zillion different registers for copying and pasting things. I use them all the time. There are other features, like marks, which I think are very cool but can never quite remember. I’ve learned marks half a dozen times, but use them so rarely that they never stick. I bet there is someone, somewhere, who is the exact opposite of me. They probably use marks all the time and never bother with more than one register. I want to make the point that everyone’s vim style is unique.

I think that a lot of the hype around learning vim, and deeply understanding it, is misplaced. The gains in efficiency diminish very quickly. Your time would be better spent writing. Or thinking of possible projects to work on. Or walking in nature.


Published: Jan 4, 2023

Last Modified: Jul 11, 2024


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