Despite the big learning curve, Vim is the best text editor.
June 14, 2019

Despite the big learning curve, Vim is the best text editor.

Jake Tolbert | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Vim

We use Vim a couple of different ways. First and foremost, as a data scientist, it's my primary text editor and daily driver. Nothing else I've tried lets me edit text so quickly, particularly text I've already written. Moving lines around takes only a few keystrokes and doing a search/replace type tasks is amazingly flexible.

Many of our non-technical users use Vim as well, though--we have a few jobs that require spreadsheet style data to be reformatted into multiple lines with a non-standard delimiter. I wrote a small function in Vim and assigned it to F6 then distributed that do nontechnical users in their .vimrc. Now, if they need to reformat text, they just paste the text in, hit F6 and copy/paste it where it needs to go.
  • Editing text with esoteric, but powerful keybindings.
  • Regular expression-based search/replace.
  • Function writing, ie. macros is simple and easy.
  • Vim is hard to learn--the keybindings aren't intuitive.
  • Regular expression support is idiosyncratic.
  • I use Vim multiple times a day every day. Without it, I'd be significantly slower at my job.
  • Because it's free and open source, the only downside to Vim is the lost productivity you'll have in learning it, a loss that you'll make up for in efficiency pretty quickly later on.
  • Notepad++
  • GNU Emacs
Vim's keybindings are a lot more complex than Notepad++. With that, comes a whole bunch of capability that Notepad++ just can't match. Emacs is comparable, in terms of capabilities--because Vim is built into so many unix systems, I chose to learn it instead of Emacs. Knowing both probably isn't a bad idea, but there's enough to learn in either camp to keep you busy.
If you're doing any sort of text editing, you should consider Vim--once you climb the learning curve, you'll be faster and more efficient at everything you do. Also, Vim is my default search/replace tool--whenever I need to make changes throughout a document, most often, I'll copy and paste into a Vim window so that I can take advantage of regexp-based replacements.

Vim isn't for the faint of heart, though--it's hard to learn and super complex. If you use a text editor once or twice a month, or just need a simple way to strip out formatting, Notepad will get you where you want to go without all the confusion.