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NVIM(1) General Commands Manual NVIM(1)


nvimedit text


nvim [options] [file ...]

nvim [options] -

nvim [options] -t tag

nvim [options] -q [errorfile]


nvim is a text editor based on Vim. Start nvim followed by any number of options and/or files:

nvim [options] [file ...]

Commands in nvim begin with colon (‘:’). Type ":help subject" to get help on a specific subject. Use <Tab> and CTRL-D to complete subjects (":help cmdline-completion").

The "quickref" help section is a condensed reference of editor features:

:help quickref

If you are new to Vim/Nvim, start with the 30-minute tutorial:


After installing/updating Nvim, it's a good idea to run the self-check:

file ...
File(s) to edit. Opens one buffer per file. To switch between buffers, use the :next and :previous commands.
Reads text from standard input until EOF, then opens a buffer with that text. User input is read from standard error, which should be a terminal.


Finds tag in the tags file, the associated file becomes the current file and the associated command is executed. Cursor is positioned at the tag location in the file. :help tag-commands
QuickFix mode. Display the first error in errorfile. If errorfile is omitted, the value of the 'errorfile' option is used (defaults to errors.err). Further errors can be jumped to with the :cnext command. :help quickfix
End of options. Remaining arguments are treated as literal file names, including filenames starting with hyphen (‘-’).
Ex mode, reading stdin as Ex commands. :help Ex-mode
Ex mode, reading stdin as text. :help Ex-mode
Silent (non-interactive) Ex mode, reading stdin as Ex commands. Useful for scripting because it does NOT start a UI, unlike -e. :help silent-mode
Silent (non-interactive) Ex mode, reading stdin as text. Useful for scripting because it does NOT start a UI, unlike -E. :help silent-mode
Diff mode. Show the difference between two to eight files, similar to sdiff(1). :help diff
Read-only mode. Sets the 'readonly' option. Implies -n. Buffers can still be edited, but cannot be written to disk if already associated with a file. To overwrite a file, add an exclamation mark to the relevant Ex command, such as :w!. :help 'readonly'
Resets the 'write' option, to disable file modifications. Writing to a file is disabled, but buffers can still be modified.
Resets the 'write' and 'modifiable' options, to disable file and buffer modifications.
Binary mode. :help edit-binary
Lisp mode. Sets the 'lisp' and 'showmatch' options.
Arabic mode. Sets the 'arabic' option.
Hebrew mode. Sets the 'hkmap' and 'rightleft' options.
Verbose mode. Prints debug messages. N is the 'verbose' level, defaults to 10. If file is specified, append messages to file instead of printing them. :help 'verbose'
Debug mode for VimL (Vim script). Started when executing the first command from a script. :help debug-mode
Disable the use of swap files. Sets the 'updatecount' option to 0. Can be useful for editing files on a slow medium.
Recovery mode. If file is omitted then list swap files with recovery information. Otherwise the swap file file is used to recover a crashed session. The swap file has the same name as the file it's associated with, but with ‘.swp’ appended. :help recovery
Alias for -r.
Use vimrc instead of the default ~/.config/nvim/init.vim. If vimrc is NORC, do not load any initialization files (except plugins). If vimrc is NONE, loading plugins is also skipped. :help initialization
Use shada instead of the default ~/.local/share/nvim/shada/main.shada. If shada is NONE, do not read or write a ShaDa file. :help shada
Skip loading plugins. Implied by -u NONE.
Mimic a fresh install of Nvim. Skip loading non-builtin plugins and shada (viminfo) file.
Open N windows stacked horizontally. If N is omitted, open one window for each file. If N is less than the number of file arguments, allocate windows for the first N files and hide the rest.
Like -o, but tile windows vertically.
Like -o, but for tab pages.
For the first file, position the cursor on line linenum. If linenum is omitted, position the cursor on the last line of the file. +5 and -c 5 on the command-line are equivalent to :5 inside nvim.
For the first file, position the cursor on the first occurrence of pattern. If pattern is omitted, the most recent search pattern is used (if any). +/foo and -c /foo on the command-line are equivalent to /foo and :/foo inside nvim. :help search-pattern
+command, -c command
Execute command after reading the first file. Up to 10 instances allowed. "+foo" and -c "foo" are equivalent.
Like -c, but execute command before processing any vimrc. Up to 10 instances of these can be used independently from instances of -c.
Source session after the first file argument has been read. Equivalent to -c "source session". session cannot start with a hyphen (‘-’). If session is omitted then Session.vim is used, if found. :help session-file
Read normal mode commands from scriptin. The same can be done with the command :source! scriptin. If the end of the file is reached before nvim exits, further characters are read from the keyboard.
Append all typed characters to scriptout. Can be used for creating a script to be used with -s or :source!.
Like -w, but truncate scriptout.
During startup, append timing messages to file. Can be used to diagnose slow startup times.
Dump API metadata serialized to msgpack and exit.
Use standard input and standard output as a msgpack-rpc channel. :help --embed
Do not start a UI. When supplied with --embed this implies that the embedding application does not intend to (immediately) start a UI. Also useful for "scraping" messages in a pipe. :help --headless
Start RPC server on this pipe or TCP socket.
, --help
Print usage information and exit.
, --version
Print version information and exit.


Low-level log file, usually found at ~/.cache/nvim/log. :help $NVIM_LOG_FILE
Used to locate user files, such as init.vim. System-dependent. :help $VIM
Used to locate runtime files (documentation, syntax highlighting, etc.).
Path to the user-local configuration directory, see FILES. Defaults to ~/.config. :help xdg
Like XDG_CONFIG_HOME, but used to store data not generally edited by the user, namely swap, backup, and ShaDa files. Defaults to ~/.local/share. :help xdg
Ex commands to be executed at startup. :help VIMINIT
Used to initialize the 'shell' option, which decides the default shell used by features like :terminal, :!, and system().


User-local nvim configuration file.
User-local nvim configuration directory. See also XDG_CONFIG_HOME.
System-global nvim configuration file.
System-global nvim runtime directory.


Nvim was started by Thiago de Arruda. Most of Vim was written by Bram Moolenaar. Vim is based on Stevie, worked on by Tim Thompson, Tony Andrews, and G.R. (Fred) Walter. :help credits

December 17, 2017 Debian