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Neovim Quick Referenceλ︎

A reference of the most common keybindings available in Vim Normal mode. Spacemacs DOCUMENTATION key bindings section contains full details

. repeats the last keybinding sequence used in Vim Normal mode or a change made within a complete Vim Insert session.

Moving aroundλ︎

In Normal mode you can keep your fingers resting on the main row of your keyboard to move around.

Key action
j move cursor down one line
k move cursor up one line
l move cursor right one character
h move cursor left one character

In menus such as helm you can move around using Ctrl and these keybindings. So C-j will move the cursor down one item in a menu.

Key Action
f to next character (you specify)
t to just before the next character
; repeat f or t search
w start of next word
W start of next word, white space delimited
e end of current word
b start of previous word
W end of next word, white space delimited
* to next matching symbol name
$ end of current line
0 start of current line
^ start of non-whitespace
% jump to matching parens or next closed paren
Key action
gg start of buffer
G end of buffer
H move cursor to head of buffer
M move cursor to middle of buffer
L move cursor to bottom line of buffer
C-u jump up half a page
C-d jump down half a page
} move cursor forward by paragraph or block
{ move cursor backward by paragraph or block
ma mark a line in a file with marker "a"
`a after moving around, go back to the exact position of marker "a"
'a after moving around, go back to line of marker "a"
:marks view all the marks
'' go to the last place you were
[{ jump back to the "{" at the beginning of the current code block
C-o jump back to previous cursor location (evil-jump-backwards)
C-i Go to newer position in jump list (opposite of C-o)
: 4 go to line 4

Text Editingλ︎

The following commands put you into the Evil Insert state

Key Action
i insert state at cursor
I insert state at start of line
a append - insert state after cursor
A append - insert state at end of line
o new line after cursor
O new line before cursor

Return to Normal stateλ︎

Regularly switch back to normal state should become common practice. As soon as you finish typing some new text, it should become second nature to go back to normal state.

ESC or press fd keys in extremely quick succession.

fd shortcut for Esc

Using f d together is low risk as if you dont get it right it will either add the characters or try find the next d character (as f moves to the next character). Keep trying this key combination as once in normal state you can use u to undo any f d characters inserted.

Copy, cut, paste, undo, redoλ︎

v in Vim normal mode changes to Visual select mode. Use the navigation keys or any other movement keys to select text to copy or cut.

Key Action
y copy (yank) selection and add to kill ring
x delete character at point and add to kill ring
X delete character before point and add to kill ring
p paste (put)
u undo
Ctrl-r redo

Undo tips

Undo will revert the last action in normal mode or all the changes you made in insert state

Replace and changing textλ︎

Key Action
r replace the character under cursor
R replace multiple characters until ESC
cw change word from cursor to end
4 c w change 4 words
v (select) c change region
v (select) d delete region
v i w c change current word
v i d delete current word
d w delete from cursor to end of word
C change from cursor to end of line
D , d $ delete from cursor to end of line

Delete commandsλ︎

Key Action
de delete to end of word, not including space
dw delete to end of word, including space
d$ delete to end of line
dd delete the current line
4 d w delete 4 words
4 d $ delete 4 lines to end
dt delete to a character (not including character)
dab delete a whole block / expression
dib delete contents of a block / expression
cab change all the block / expression
cib change inner block contents / expression
yab yank all block / expression
yib yank inner block contents / expression

Repeat commandsλ︎

Key Action
. repeat last command again
<number> <cmd> repeat command a number of times

The . keybinding will repeat the last command in normal mode or the last text edit in insert mode.

Type a number before a command and that command will run that number of times.

Inserting a comment border

Use the number repeat to create a border of 42 ; characters.

Type 42 to repeat the command 42 times

Press i for insert mode

Press ; as the character to repeat insert

Press ESC or fd to leave insert mode and insert all 42 ; characters

Transposing / swapλ︎

Key Description
x p transpose the current character with the next character

Comments - works for all major modesλ︎

g c c to comment out the current line

g c to comment out the currently selected region

To comment multiple lines you can use the repeat command style, especially useful if you are using relative line numbers.

g c 3 j will comment the current line and the following two lines below. Comment in reverse using g c 3 k.

In Visual state, v, select the lines you wish to comment and use g c to comment all the marked lines. Partially marked lines are not commented.

Managing Filesλ︎

Files in practicalli/neovim-config can be managed with Telescope plugin, although the neovim commands can also be used

SPC p t toggles a visual file explorer on as a leftmost window, providing a further way to navigate files and directories.

Key Description
SPC f f find existing file (from current local root of neovim)
SPC f / copy file - save current buffer with a new file name
SPC f b browse files - Esc to run commands
SPC f b Esc r change file name of current buffer

Telescope file browser opens in Insert mode to allow typing filenames, to narrow the results in the Telescope popup.

Telescope browser commandsλ︎

SPC f b opens telescope browser which allows commands to be run over the current file or directory.

Esc swiches the Telescope popup to normal mode, allowing commands to be used

  • c create file / directory (any missing parts of a path are created)
  • r rename a file / directory
  • R replace

TAB selects files and directories, allowing for commands (i.e. rename) to be done in batch mode (acting on all selected files / directories)

Working with Buffersλ︎

To work with files in Neovim they are loaded into a Buffer.

Buffers are displayed in a window and you can change the window to show any of the current buffers.

SPC b displays the buffer menu and the most common commands include:

Key Command Description
SPC b b :Telescope buffers List current buffers
SPC b d :bdelete Kill current buffer
SPC b n :bnext Switch to next buffer
SPC b p :bprevious Switch to previous buffer
SPC b a :ball Switch to previous buffer

Quit or Restart Emacsλ︎

I recommend using the Spacemacs menu from normal mode to quit / restart Spacemacs.

Key Action
SPC q a Quit Neovim (blocked if unsaved change in buffers)
SPC q q Quit buffer (blocked if unsaved change in buffers)
SPS q Q Force quit of Neovim

External commandsλ︎

run external commands using :! followed by a command. For example:

:!ls - run the ls command

Last update: December 8, 2022