Edit files quickly with Vim on Windows

Vim has always been my favorite text editor on Mac and Linux. But since I spend quite some time on Windows lately I figured it’s time to see how things are now with Vim in the Windows Department.

But first, why Vim? For me the most important reason is that I get to edit files quickly without leaving the terminal.
And that’s a big win. Besides, it’s easy on the eyes too!

Install Vim and ConEmu with Chocolatey

Choco, what else!
We need a decent terminal emulator for PowerShell so let’s install ConEmu as well.

choco install conemu -y
choco install vim -y

Now we can start vim with the vim command. But of course plain vim is ultimately boring, so let’s start configuring it.

Where are the config files

In ConEmu, open a Powershell shell and enter vim. This wil start Vim.
Then type


Vim looks for configuration in a ‘vimrc’ file.
Now we get to see the environment settings of Vim so we know where to put our config.

system vimrc file: "$VIM\vimrc"
user vimrc file: "$HOME\_vimrc"
2nd user vimrc file: "$HOME\vimfiles\vimrc"
3rd user vimrc file: "$VIM\_vimrc"
user exrc file: "$HOME\_exrc"
2nd user exrc file: "$VIM\_exrc"
defaults file: "$VIMRUNTIME\defaults.vim"

Let’s continue using the second entry and create the vimrc file:
Exit Vim by typing


And in your Powershell prompt enter:

echo $null >> ~/_vimrc

Next let’s add some plugins and modifications to our vimrc file.

Install Pathogen

With Pathogen installing Vim plugins is a breeze.

At the PowerShell prompt type:

mkdir ~/vimfiles/bundle;mkdir ~/vimfiles/autoload
Invoke-WebRequest https://tpo.pe/pathogen.vim -OutFile ~\vimfiles\autoload\pathogen.vim

Then install some plugins by cloning them to the bundle folder you just created:

cd ~\vimfiles\bundle
git clone https://github.com/scrooloose/nerdtree.git
git clone https://github.com/Valloric/MatchTagAlways.git
git clone https://github.com/vim-airline/vim-airline
git clone https://github.com/vim-airline/vim-airline-themes
git clone https://github.com/lukaszb/vim-web-indent.git
git clone https://github.com/altercation/vim-colors-solarized.git

Create your vimrc

Copy and paste this into your vimrc:

set laststatus=2
set number
set wrap
set linebreak
set expandtab
set shiftwidth=2
set softtabstop=2
set clipboard=unnamedplus
set paste
syntax on

execute pathogen#infect()

filetype plugin indent on

map  mzgg=G`z

let NERDTreeShowHidden=1
autocmd bufenter * if (winnr("$") == 1 && exists("b:NERDTreeType") && b:NERDTreeType == "primary") | q | endif
autocmd vimenter * if !argc() | NERDTree | endif
map  :NERDTreeToggle

set t_Co=256
set background=dark
let g:airline_theme='solarized'
colorscheme solarized
set fillchars=""

The first section is self explanatory I think. Then this config:
– loads Pathogen
– maps the function key F7 to a command sequence that aligns the code.
– configures the NERDTree to load if you start Vim without a filename.
– The last section is to set the color theme to Solarized and the configure the Airline status bar.

Run Vim!

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