by George Brocklehurst (@georgebrock)
Even if you're good at it, typing is still slower and more error-prone than not typing. This presentation will explore a few ways to avoid typing by getting Vim to do the typing for you.
As modal editors, Vi and Vim tend to avoid modifier keys in favour of modes. The behaviour of a key stoke is dictated by the editor's mode. This is different from Emacs-like editors, where behaviour is modified by pressing modifier keys instead of changing mode.
Everything in this presentation uses modifier keys in insert mode: the commands might feel more like Emacs commands than Vim commands, but they are useful, and have their place in the Vim editing philosophy.
Vim users like to be efficient, and part of that efficiency is making
changes as atomic edits. An atomic edit can be repeated (using
.) or undone (using u). A
single insert updates the
. register, making the inserted text readily
available. Sometimes, when we're inserting text that includes something
Vim's already seen – either because it's in one of our files, a symbol
in our program, or something from one of our registers – it's more
efficient not to change mode, and to reach for a modifier key
There are three common cases where we want to insert something Vim's already seen as part of a larger insert:
ctrl+p finds the previous matching completion for the partially typed word.
ctrl+n finds the next matching completion for the partially typed word.
ctrl+p is usually more useful, because you're more likely to be looking for a word you just used than a word you're about to use.
Where Vim looks for completions is controlled by the
complete setting. The default is
.,w,b,u,t,i, which means Vim will look in:
I also like to add
kspell to the end of the list:
Sometimes, you know that the word you want to complete isn't just any old word that appears in your file or files; you know you're trying to complete a symbol from your program.
If you're using ctags(1) then you can complete a word in your tags file using ctrl+xctrl+].
The initial ctrl+x puts Vim into a completion mode, which is a sub-mode of insert mode. We'll see this prefix again.
When the completion menu appears, you can use ctrl+p and ctrl+n to navigate through the options.
Repeat the command to continue adding matches, e.g. in a document
that contained the string
Hello world, you could type
Hello, and then immediately repeating
At any point, if there are multiple possible matches, you can use ctrl+p and ctrl+n to navigate through the options.
As with word completion, you can repeat the command to continue adding matches.
If you have Vim's filetype plugins enables, you will have access to omnicomplete for some languages. This completion style will complete language keywords and built in classes or functions.
For example, in a Ruby file, typing
would complete to
"Hello world".capitalize or