This is the 2nd post of my post series on nifty Nvim/Vim techniques that will make my editing experience easier.

Click here to check other posts in this series.

How to add a newline after some pattern?

In other styles of regular expressions, \n is used to denote a newline character. In nvim, it is a bit complicated. In search, you can use \n to search a newline. But in replace, you need to use \r to insert a newline. \n in replace mode will insert NULL character (shown as \@) in nvim.


How to output the value of a nvim option or variable to current buffer?

For a variable, to output its value to the buffer. You have two options:

  1. Use :put= followed by variable name in NORMAL mode. For example, if you want to put the value of airline_theme to current buffer, use :put=airline_theme.
  2. Use <C-R>= in INSERT mode. In INSERT mode, first press Ctrl+R, then press =, input a variable name, e.g., airline_theme.

For a Nvim option, the operation is similar except that you need to add a & before option. For example, to put the value timeoutlen into current buffer, you can either use :put=&timeoutlen<CR> or use <C-R>=&timeoutlen<CR>.


How do I set multiple options in one autocmd?

Based on some event or the filetypes, we may want to set up several options at once. How do we do it in Vim?

For example, when we open a terminal inside Nvim, reset the number and relativenumber settings, we can use the following command:

autocmd TermOpen * setlocal nonumber norelativenumber


How do I open a terminal window inside neovim?

For neovim, to open a vertical terminal window, the following works:

:vnew term://bash :vsplit term://bash :vnew term://zsh :vsplit term://zsh

To open a horizontal window, remote v in the above command. More documentation can be found by using :h :terminal inside neovim.


How do I use all kinds of shortcut in vim command mode?

When we enter the vim command mode by using :, we can not use the many shortcut provided by vim (we are in INSERT MODE in some sense), which makes command editing inefficient. Vim also provides a more powerful command window, which you can open by either press <C-F> in command mode or press q: in NORMAL mode window.

In the command mode, a list of history command is shown. To execute a specific command, move the cursor to that line and press <CR> in NORMAL mode. The command will be executed as if from the window where the command window is started. To edit a command, move to the line and start editing using all the shortcut provided by Vim.

By default, you will be in NORMAL mode when you open the command window. To open the command window and start inserting command automatically, we will employ the CmdwinEnter event provided by Vim:

autocmd CmdwinEnter [:] startinsert

How to quit command window

  • :quit
  • Press <C-c>


How do I create folds in vim configuration?

For long Vim configuration files, it is hard to grasp the structure of the whole file and to navigate the file. Thus it is desirable to create fold for each section of the vim configuration.

To achieve this, we can employ the modeline to set the fold-related options for Vim config file only.

First, add the following line to the first or last line of your Vim configuration:

" Vim: set fdm=marker fmr={{{,}}} fdl=0 fdls=-1:

In the above setting, we set the foldmethod (fdm) to marker and set foldmarker (fmr) to {{{,}}}. The start and end fold markers are separated by a comma. So in this example, the start and end fold marker are respective {{{ and }}}. Then Nvim will try to close the fold automatically based on the fold marker. If you use modeline, you must turn on the modeline options if it is off.

create a fold

In your vim configuration, in order to create a section Nvim built-in options and settings, you can use the following boilerplate code:

" Nvim built-in options and settings {{{
    " put all your settings inside here
    set number
    set relative number
    " etc......
" }}}

When you save the file and open it again, you will find that the fold takes effect.


How to find the doc of some settings if we do not know its exact key-words?

I saw some vimrc which have the following settings:

syntax spell toplevel

Since I donot know the keyword for this setting, I can not go to it directly with :h KEYWORD. We can use helpgrep instead, which will put a list of related results in a quickfix window. In this case, we can use :helpgrep toplevel and it returns 7 results. You can open the quickfix window with :cwindow command and then navigate a window using :cprevious and :cnext command.


  • vim doc: :h helpgrep

How do I set the working directory to where the currently opened file is?

If you are editting a file, how to set vim’s working directory to the folder the file reside? In Vim, we can use :cd %:h. % represents the current file and :h is a modifier which gets the path to the current file. For more info about file modifiers, see :h cmdline-special.