Most of the time, I use Emacs. However, I've decided to try to learn Vim. I'm happy with Emacs, I just am trying to avoid having it turn into Maslow's Hammer. I've seen a few tutorials, but I have yet to see a good one written from the standpoint of someone coming from Emacs.

Is there any general advice that someone who's undergone this learning process before can give me? Most importantly, what are some concepts in Vim that may not be intuitive to me coming from an Emacs background?

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    I'd be interested in the reverse: emacs guide for a vim user. – Kevin M Apr 15 '10 at 17:45
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    Obligatory: "Why would you EVER want to switch from emacs to vim???" B-) – Brian Postow Apr 15 '10 at 22:22
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    For the same reason you'd want to switch from vim to emacs. B-) To try it out and see what the holy war is about. – Kevin M Apr 16 '10 at 5:18
  • @Brian: Probably because EMACS = Escape Meta Alt Control Shift. Granted VI = Virtually Impossible, but then again I use VI[M] and TextMate primarily. – Josh K Apr 19 '10 at 12:11

I, too, am an Emacs refugee. By far, the most important step is understanding that, unlike any other editor that you have used before, learning Vi is like learning to speak a language, rather than memorizing keystrokes. I discuss this here:

Jeet Sukumaran: Grokking the Zen of the Vi Wu-Wei

The article that made it "all fall into place" for me is here:
Stackoverflow: What is your most productive shortcut with Vim?
Answer: Your problem with Vim is that you don't grok vi.


Run the command vimtutor, it's like the emacs equivalent you get to from ctrl-H-t.

  1. A Vim guide for Emacs users
  2. local: What features does emacs have that vim hasn’t?
  3. local: Features of emacs that are complementary to vim?
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    I saw #1, but it just doesn't seem to be as oriented towards emacs users as its title would imply. Thanks for the links though! – Jason Baker Apr 15 '10 at 14:06

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