This is the 8th 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.

Use Neovim as man pager

The default pager used by man command on *nix lacks syntax highlighting and is not good for reading, searching. Why not turn nvim into the man pager? Just add the following setting to your shell config file:

if [[ "$(command -v nvim)" ]]; then
    export EDITOR='nvim'
    export MANPAGER='nvim +Man!'
    export MANWIDTH=999

See also :h man.vim.


Close other windows quickly?

When we are in a certain window, we may want to close all other windows. We may go to the other windows and close them with :quit. It is a bit cumbersome.

The :only command is a much nicer way. It will close all the other windows except the one we are in. There is also an equivalent shortcut: <C-W> o (that is, Ctrl-W, followed by o).


Execute a macro in several lines.

Macro is a powerful way to edit texts with similar structures. To execute a macro on several lines, we can use a line range if the lines are continuous. For example, execute macro a for line 10 to 15, use:

10,15normal! @a

Or we can visually select the lines, and run the following command (note that if you select these lines, and then press :, Nvim will insert '<,'> automatically):

:'<,'>normal! @a

To execute a macro only on lines matching a certain pattern, run the following command:

:g/pattern/normal! @a


Copy URL under cursor into a register?

We can use <cfile> with expand() function get the URL under cursor (see :h <cfile>). To copy the URL to unnamed register, use the following command:

let @" = expand('<cfile>')

The above method is not perfect, since expand('<cfile>') will also give you results even if your cursor is on a normal words (non-URL).

A more sophisticated method would be using actual URL patterns and search the current line to get a valid URL. A good URL pattern is provided by plugin vim-highlighturl via highlighturl#default_pattern() method. With this knowledge, here is a more error-proof approach to get the current URL:

let @" = matchstr(getline('.'), highlighturl#default_pattern())


Get diff between two buffers or files

If we have two different versions of the same file and we want to find the differences between them, how do we do it inside Neovim?

Suppose the two files are,, here is how to compare them inside Neovim.

If you haven’t start Nvim, you can run the following command:

nvim -d

This will start nvim in diff mode.

If you are already inside Neovim, first open (:e, then open in a vertical split window (:vs Finally, run the following command to start comparing:

:windo diffthis


  1. Of course, you can use a horizontal split window, but vertical split window is better for comparing the two files, IMO. ↩︎