Learn Vim with No Settings

Most people end up with huge .vimrc files and lots of configuration options. That can make using a standard installation of Vim tricky. So just how much vanilla Vim do you remember?

First, start Vim like this:

vim -u NONE

The -u option lets you change the .vimrc that Vim loads, so in this case no file will be used. Now when you start Vim it'll behave more like vi.

The first thing I noticed was I kept getting ^I instead of tab completion when trying to open files. Cmdline mode doesn't support tab completion in Vi mode. To get around this you can use :set nocompatible (nocp). This actually sets multiple options, and enables things most of us take for granted like commandline history and wildchar for completion.

I don't use too many shortcuts so I don't find vanilla Vim that painful, but when I'm doing serious work I immediately miss workflow tools like The Silver Searcher and my tmux integration.

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