What is the VIM Editor, and why is it great!

While working on Linux distributions, there are various tasks where we will need to work on a text editor, including scripting/programming, text or configuration file editing, and many more. You can use and install several popular text editors on your Linux based operating environment. However, in this article, we will discuss the benefits and features of the VIM text editor and why it is great to use the on the Linux system.

What is the VIM editor?

The first screen-oriented text editor was Vi that created for the Unix environment; it was built for text manipulation.  Vim is a popular text editor on Linux, which stands for ‘Vi Improved’. It is the clone of the Vi Unix text editor, and it supports more features than Vi. In simple words, Vim is a text editor that you can install on your Linux system. The main features of Vim, including highly configurable, syntax highlighting, graphical versions, mouse support, advanced editing commands, visual mode, and integrate a large number of extensions or plugins.

Why is vim so popular? Let us discuss some important features of vim, which makes it unique from other text editors. There are the following reasons why users preferred to use vim over others.

Vim is an Open-source and cross-platform

Vim is an open-source and freely available text editor that is designed for both application GUI as well as for command-line. You can install Vim on every system. Vim is available on Mac OS, Linux and Windows as well. On most of the modern Linux systems, the vim is already installed by default. If it is not installed then, you can install it using the following command on different Linux distributions:

$ sudo apt install vim [On Ubuntu / Debian]
$ sudo yum install vim [On CentOS]
$ sudo dnf install vim [Fedora ]

Vim is documented well

The vim documentation is well written and simple to use. Vim provides a built-in manual, which can be accessed using the: help command. This manual gives more details than Vim’s man page.

Vim Community

Vim is one of the oldest and most popular editors and hence with that has a large community to support users.  Many coders and system admins you meet will be either a daily or occasional user of Vim.  Forums like stack overflow and others will easily find experts to share tips on Vim with you.

Vim supports portable configurations

The portable configurations mean that the Vim text editor enables you to import the same configurations on your Linux systems. You can also share the configurations with your friends on the Internet as well. You just need to do is copy a few files and directories, and nothing else.

Vim is customizable and extensible

Vim provides extensive support to various plugins. You can use a lot of plugins out there that enhance the Vim’s functionality.  You can read about the VIM plugins in our other articles.  There are many configuration options that let you setup VIM your own way.

Vim consume fewer system resources

The main strength of Vim is its simplicity and smallness; therefore, this text editor doesn’t use more system resources as compared to other text editors like emacs, nano, etc. especially the graphical editors. Vim is lightweight and very fast, even when modifying the large numbers of files source code. You can run it over ssh for various remote operations on any type of server.

Moreover, Vim offers some important effective key-bindings; thus, it allows you to carry out any type of imaginable task using the keyboard. Vim text editor offers many capabilities, and it is very efficient due to its simplicity.

Vim supports multiple File Formats and Programming Languages

Vim editor, by default, supports multiple file formats and several programming languages. Using Vim, you can detect any type of file, by checking the file name and by inspecting the file content for specific text.

Vim is ext, , remely powerful

Vim is a powerful text editor that provides you to do tasks quickly. You can perform tasks very quickly and in an efficient manner, and usually with the keyboard only (no mouse), once you learn how Vim works. Some important features of vim include registers, macros, command repetition, text objects, auto-completion, searching, and global substitution.

Vim is interesting and Fun!

Last feature but not least, Vim is very interesting and fun to learn. Once you start working on Vim extensively on a daily basis, you will feel really do amazing tasks with it.

In this article, we explained some useful features of the Vim text editor. You can explore more of its features when you use it on your system. I hope you enjoyed this article.

About the author

Karim Buzdar

Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. He blogs at LinuxWays.