Drew Neil Portrait

Vim masterclass

Learn to wield the awesome text editing power of Vim in this hands on workshop. We’ll drill through a series of exercises that are designed to teach the best practices for working with Vim’s core functionality. You’ll learn to slice and dice text at the speed of thought.

There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with cream – Charles Kingsley

In Vim, we can duplicate a line from normal mode, insert mode, or with an Ex command. But which is best? In this masterclass, we’ll work through a series of exercises, finding at least two solutions to every problem. In response to the question “which is best?” we’ll see that the answer is always: “it depends”.

Vim is optimized for repetition. We’ll study a few examples of how to use the dot command to repeat the last change. Then we’ll develop a strategy for composing repeatable changes, and meet the optimal Dot Formula: a two step solution with a thousand uses. We’ll also study best practices for creating robust macros, and learn how to execute them either in series or in parallel.

To level the playing field, we’ll be using bare Vim (not vi – we’re not savages). You’ll be asked to leave your .vimrc at the door.

Drew Neil

Studio Nelstrom


Drew Neil, the voice of Vimcasts, is an independent web developer, teacher, and author of Practical Vim.