Vim is a highly configurable, powerful, console-based, open source text editor. It’s efficient, letting users edit files with a minimum of keystrokes.
Vim is an enhanced version of the vi editor, with development dating back to 1976.
Why learn Vim?
- It’s ubiquitous. Once you’ve learn how to use Vim, you’ll be able to edit text whatever computer you are accessing, locally or remotely. Vi(m) is a standard editor on the vast majority of UNIX-derived systems including Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, and the various BSD distributions. Even embedded software in home routers typically include the editor.
- Scalability – the software can be an entire writing platform or used to occasionally edit a configuration file.
- Efficient, extensible, fast, and terminal friendly.
Vim has received considerable notoriety arising from the conflict between Emacs and Vim users. Best stay away from editor wars.
When getting started with Vim, users face a steep learning curve. It’s true the software is simple. It’s simple in the sense that its minimal interface focuses the user on their main task. But Vim is very powerful. To learn how to use Vim and master that power, we recommend the following free books. Each book is released under an open source license, just like Vim.
By Steve Oualline (804 pages)
The goal of this book is to provide a tutorial to show the reader how to use the power of Vim to solve common problems. Also the book attempts to show you visually the operation of very major command and option, and to fully document the rest.
The content of this book is published under the Open Publication License.
By Tim Ottinger (255 pages)
This is an intentionally small micro-book, not a comprehensive guide to all the features of this powerful editor.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
By Run Paint Run Run (185 pages)
Vim Recipes seeks to complement Vim’s built-in documentation. It sets out a common problem, offers a solution, and then elaborates with discussion notes.
The book’s cover depicts Bram Moolenaar, the creator of Vim.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
By Bram Moolenaar (258 pages)
No roundup of the best free VIM books could be complete without the official VIM User Manual. It offers task oriented explanations, from simple to complex. Reads from start to end like a book.
It’s available with the standard Vim distribution.
By Dale Dougherty, Tim O’Reilly (680 pages)
This book shows the reader how to effectively prepare written documents, especially in the process of producing book-length documents. The authors demonstrate popular tools available to meet this task. It also examines text processing in terms of problems and solutions: the problems faced by a writer undertaking a large writing project and the solutions offered by using the resources and power of a computer system.
While this book was published way back in 1997, it still provides a wealth of relevant information.
The book is published under the Creative Commons’ Attribution License.
By Swaroop C H (100 pages)
“A Byte of Vim” is a book which aims to help you to learn how to use the Vim editor (version 7), even if all you know is how to use the computer keyboard.
The first part of this book is meant for new users who want to understand what Vim is and learn how to use it.
The second part of this book is for people who already know how to use Vim and want to learn about features that make Vim so powerful, such as windows and tabs, personal information management, making it a programmer’s editor, how to extend Vim with your own plugins, and more.
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
By Randall Wood (13 pages)
This document is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 licence.
By Steve Oualline (572 pages)
This is a complete reference text to the Vim text editor. The material in this book is incorporated into The Vim Tutorial and Reference.
This book is published under the Open Publication License (OPL).