Vim - Introduction

Vim editor is one of the more popular text editors we use today. It is a clone of the Vi editor and is written by Bram Moolenaar. It is cross platform editor and available on most popular platforms like Windows, Linux, Mac and other UNIX variants. In this chapter, we will discuss following items −

  • Introduction
  • Features of Vim
  • Why Vim was created?


Vim is acronym for Vi IMproved. It is free and open source text editor written by Bram Moolenaar. It was first released in 1991 for UNIX variants and its main goal was to provide enhancement to the Vi editor, which was released way back in 1976.

Vim is considered as clone Vi editor. Like Vi, it is also command centric editor. One of the advantage of learning Vim is – it is available everywhere. Take any UNIX variant like Linux, Mac, HP-UX, AIX and many more, Vim is there by default. Vim traditionally does not have GUI but now there is separate installer called gVim which provides GUI.

Features of Vim

This section discusses some of the important features of Vim −

  • Its memory footprint is very low

  • It is command centric. You can perform complex text related task with few commands

  • It is highly configurable and uses simple text file to store its configuration

  • There are many plug-in available for Vim. Its functionality can be extended in great manner using these plug-in

  • It supports multiple windows. Using this feature screen can be split into multiple windows

  • Same as multiple windows, it also supports multiple buffers

  • It supports multiple tabs which allows to work on multiple files

  • It supports recording features which allows to record and play Vim commands in repeated manner

Why Vim was Created

Vim is based on original Vi editor, which was created by Bill Joy in 1976. During 90’s Vi was lacking behind in-the so called the editor war existed between the Vi and Emacs editor. So Bram implemented a lots of missing features that the Emacs community used as argument for why Emacs was better that Vi/Vim.