Vim documentation: various

main help file

*various.txt*   For Vim version 6.3.  Last change: 2004 May 01

		  VIM REFERENCE MANUAL    by Bram Moolenaar

Various commands					*various*

1. Various commands		|various-cmds|
2. Online help			|online-help|
3. Printing			|printing|
4. Using Vim like less or more	|less|


1. Various commands					*various-cmds*

CTRL-L			Clear and redraw the screen (later).

							*:redr* *:redraw*
:redr[aw][!]		Redraw the screen right now.  When ! is included it is
			cleared first.
			Useful to update the screen halfway executing a script
			or function.  Also when halfway a mapping and
			'lazyredraw' is set.

						*:redraws* *:redrawstatus*
:redraws[tatus][!]	Redraw the status line of the current window.  When !
			is included all status lines are redrawn.
			Useful to update the status line(s) when 'statusline'
			includes an item that doesn't cause automatic

<Del>			When entering a number: Remove the last digit.
			Note: if you like to use <BS> for this, add this
			mapping to your .vimrc:
				:map CTRL-V <BS>   CTRL-V <Del>
 			See |:fixdel| if your <Del> key does not do what you

:as[cii]	or					*ga* *:as* *:ascii*
ga			Print the ascii value of the character under the
			cursor in decimal, hexadecimal and octal.  For
			example, when the cursor is on a 'R':
				<R>  82,  Hex 52,  Octal 122 
			When the character is a non-standard ASCII character,
			but printable according to the 'isprint' option, the
			non-printable version is also given.  When the
			character is larger than 127, the <M-x> form is also
			printed.  For example:
				<~A>  <M-^A>  129,  Hex 81,  Octal 201 
				<p>  <|~>  <M-~>  254,  Hex fe,  Octal 376 
			(where <p> is a special character)
			The <Nul> character in a file is stored internally as
			<NL>, but it will be shown as:
				<^@>  0,  Hex 00,  Octal 000 
			Mnemonic: Get Ascii value.  {not in Vi}

g8			Print the hex values of the bytes used in the
			character under the cursor, assuming it is in |UTF-8|
			encoding.  This also shows composing characters.
			Example of a character with three composing
				e0 b8 81 + e0 b8 b9 + e0 b9 89 
			{not in Vi}

							*:p* *:pr* *:print*
:[range]p[rint]		Print [range] lines (default current line).
			Note: If you are looking for a way to print your text
			file, you need an external program for that.  In the
			GUI you can use the File.Print menu entry.
			(For printing on paper see |:hardcopy|)

:[range]p[rint] {count}
			Print {count} lines, starting with [range] (default
			current line |cmdline-ranges|).

							*:P* *:Print*
:[range]P[rint] [count]
			Just as ":print".  Was apparently added to Vi for
			people that keep the shift key pressed too long...

							*:l* *:list*
:[range]l[ist] [count]
			Same as :print, but display unprintable characters
			with '^'.

							*:nu* *:number*
:[range]nu[mber] [count]
			Same as :print, but precede each line with its line
			number.  (See also 'highlight' option).

:[range]# [count]	synonym for :number.

							*:z* *E144*
:{range}z[+-^.=]{count}	Display several lines of text surrounding the line
			specified with {range}, or around the current line
			if there is no {range}.  If there is a {count}, that's
			how many lines you'll see; otherwise, the current
			window size is used.

			:z can be used either alone or followed by any of
			several punctuation marks.  These have the following

			mark   first line    last line      new location   
			----   ----------    ---------      ------------
			+      current line  1 scr forward  1 scr forward
			-      1 scr back    current line   current line
			^      2 scr back    1 scr back     1 scr back
			.      1/2 scr back  1/2 scr fwd    1/2 src fwd
			=      1/2 src back  1/2 scr fwd    current line

			Specifying no mark at all is the same as "+".
			If the mark is "=", a line of dashes is printed
			around the current line.

:{range}z#[+-^.=]{count}				*:z#*
			Like ":z", but number the lines.
			{not in all versions of Vi, not with these arguments}

:=			Print the last line number.

:{range}=		Prints the last line number in {range}.  For example,
			this prints the current line number:

:norm[al][!] {commands}					*:norm* *:normal*
			Execute Normal mode commands {commands}.  This makes
			it possible to execute Normal mode commands typed on
			the command-line.  {commands} is executed like it is
			typed.  For undo all commands are undone together.
			If the [!] is given, mappings will not be used.
			{commands} should be a complete command.  If
			{commands} does not finish a command, the last one
			will be aborted as if <Esc> or <C-C> was typed.
			The display isn't updated while ":normal" is busy.
			This implies that an insert command must be completed
			(to start Insert mode, see |:startinsert|).  A ":"
			command must be completed as well.
			{commands} cannot start with a space. Put a 1 (one)
			before it, 1 space is one space.
			The 'insertmode' option is ignored for {commands}.
			This command cannot be followed by another command,
			since any '|' is considered part of the command.
			This command can be used recursively, but the depth is
			limited by 'maxmapdepth'.
			When this command is called from a non-remappable
			mapping |:noremap|, the argument can be mapped anyway.
			An alternative is to use |:execute|, which uses an
			expression as argument.  This allows the use of
			printable characters.  Example:
				:exe "normal \<c-w>\<c-w>"
 			{not in Vi, of course}
			{not available when the |+ex_extra| feature was
			disabled at compile time}

:{range}norm[al][!] {commands}				*:normal-range*
			Execute Normal mode commands {commands} for each line
			in the {range}.  Before executing the {commands}, the
			cursor is positioned in the first column of the range,
			for each line.  Otherwise it's the same as the
			":normal" command without a range.
			{not in Vi}
			Not available when |+ex_extra| feature was disabled at
			compile time.

							*:sh* *:shell* *E371*
:sh[ell]		This command starts a shell.  When the shell exits
			(after the "exit" command) you return to Vim.  The
			name for the shell command comes from 'shell' option.

			Note: This doesn't work when Vim on the Amiga was
			started in QuickFix mode from a compiler, because the
			compiler will have set stdin to a non-interactive

							*:!cmd* *:!* *E34*
:!{cmd}			Execute {cmd} with the shell.  See also the 'shell'
			and 'shelltype' option.
			Any '!' in {cmd} is replaced with the previous
			external command (see also 'cpoptions').  But not when
			there is a backslash before the '!', then that
			backslash is removed.  Example: ":!ls" followed by
			":!echo ! \! \\!" executes "echo ls ! \!".
			After the command has been executed, the timestamp of
			the current file is checked |timestamp|.
			There cannot be a '|' in {cmd}, see |:bar|.
			A newline character ends {cmd}, what follows is
			interpreted as a following ":" command.  However, if
			there is a backslash before the newline it is removed
			and {cmd} continues.  It doesn't matter how many
			backslashes are before the newline, only one is
			On Unix the command normally runs in a non-interactive
			shell.  If you want an interactive shell to be used
			(to use aliases) set 'shellcmdflag' to "-ic".
			For Win32 also see |:!start|.
			Vim redraws the screen after the command is finished,
			because it may have printed any text.  This requires a
			hit-enter prompt, so that you can read any messages.
			To avoid this use:
				:silent !{cmd}
 			The screen is not redrawn then, thus you have to use
			CTRL-L or ":redraw!" if the command did display
			Also see |shell-window|.

:!!			Repeat last ":!{cmd}".

							*:ve* *:version*
:ve[rsion]		Print the version number of the editor.  If the
			compiler used understands "__DATE__" the compilation
			date is mentioned.  Otherwise a fixed release-date is
			The following lines contain information about which
			features were enabled when Vim was compiled.  When
			there is a preceding '+', the feature is included,
			when there is a '-' it is excluded.  To change this,
			you have to edit feature.h and recompile Vim.
			To check for this in an expression, see |has()|.
			Here is an overview of the features.
			The first column shows the smallest version in which
			they are included:
			   T	tiny
			   S	small
			   N	normal
			   B	big
			   H	huge
			   m	manually enabled or depends on other features
			 (none) system dependent
			Thus if a feature is marked with "N", it is included
			in the normal, big and huge versions of Vim.


   *+ARP*		Amiga only: ARP support included

B  *+arabic*		|Arabic| language support

N  *+autocmd*		|:autocmd|, automatic commands

m  *+balloon_eval*	|balloon-eval| support

N  *+browse*		|:browse| command

N  *+builtin_terms*	some terminals builtin |builtin-terms|

B  *++builtin_terms*	maximal terminals builtin |builtin-terms|

N  *+byte_offset*	support for 'o' flag in 'statusline' option, "go"
			and ":goto" commands.

N  *+cindent*		|'cindent'|, C indenting

N  *+clientserver*	Unix and Win32: Remote invocation |clientserver|

   *+clipboard*		|clipboard| support

N  *+cmdline_compl*	command line completion |cmdline-completion|

N  *+cmdline_hist*	command line history |cmdline-history|

N  *+cmdline_info*	|'showcmd'| and |'ruler'|

N  *+comments*		|'comments'| support

N  *+cryptv*		encryption support |encryption|

B  *+cscope*		|cscope| support

N  *+dialog_gui*	Support for |:confirm| with GUI dialog.

N  *+dialog_con*	Support for |:confirm| with console dialog.

N  *+dialog_con_gui*	Support for |:confirm| with GUI and console dialog.

N  *+diff*		|vimdiff| and 'diff'

N  *+digraphs*		|digraphs| *E196*

   *+dnd*		Support for DnD into the "~ register |quote_~|.

B  *+emacs_tags*	|emacs-tags| files

N  *+eval*		expression evaluation |eval.txt|

N  *+ex_extra*		Vim's extra Ex commands: |:center|, |:left|,
			|:normal|, |:retab| and |:right|

N  *+extra_search*	|'hlsearch'| and |'incsearch'| options.

B  *+farsi*		|farsi| language

N  *+file_in_path*	|gf|, |CTRL-W_f| and |<cfile>|

N  *+find_in_path*	include file searches: |[I|, |:isearch|,
			|CTRL-W_CTRL-I|, |:checkpath|, etc.

N  *+folding*		|folding|

   *+footer*		|gui-footer|

   *+fork*		Unix only: |fork| shell commands

N  *+gettext*		message translations |multi-lang|

   *+GUI_Athena*	Unix only: Athena |GUI|

   *+GUI_neXtaw*	Unix only: neXtaw |GUI|

   *+GUI_BeOS*		BeOS only: BeOS |GUI|

   *+GUI_GTK*		Unix only: GTK+ |GUI|

   *+GUI_Motif*		Unix only: Motif |GUI|

   *+GUI_Photon*	QNX only:  Photon |GUI|

m  *+hangul_input*	Hangul input support |hangul|

   *+iconv*		Compiled with the |iconv()| function, may have |/dyn|

N  *+insert_expand*	|insert_expand| Insert mode completion

N  *+jumplist*		|jumplist|

B  *+keymap*		|'keymap'|

B  *+langmap*		|'langmap'|

N  *+libcall*		|libcall()|

N  *+linebreak*		|'linebreak'|, |'breakat'| and |'showbreak'|

N  *+lispindent*	|'lisp'|

N  *+listcmds*		Vim commands for the list of buffers |buffer-hidden|
			and argument list |:argdelete|

N  *+localmap*		Support for mappings local to a buffer |:map-local|

N  *+menu*		|:menu|

N  *+mksession*		|:mksession|

N  *+modify_fname*	|filename-modifiers|

N  *+mouse*		Mouse handling |mouse-using|

N  *+mouseshape*	|'mouseshape'|

B  *+mouse_dec*		Unix only: Dec terminal mouse handling |dec-mouse|

N  *+mouse_gpm*		Unix only: Linux console mouse handling |gpm-mouse|

B  *+mouse_netterm*	Unix only: netterm mouse handling |netterm-mouse|

N  *+mouse_pterm*	QNX only: pterm mouse handling |qnx-terminal|

N  *+mouse_xterm*	Unix only: xterm mouse handling |xterm-mouse|

B  *+multi_byte*	Korean and other languages |multibyte|

   *+multi_byte_ime*	Win32 input method for multibyte chars |multibyte-ime|

N  *+multi_lang*	non-English language support |multi-lang|

m  *+netbeans_intg*	|netbeans|

m  *+ole*		Win32 GUI only: |ole-interface|

   *+osfiletype*	Support for the 'osfiletype' option and filetype
			checking in automatic commands.  |autocmd-osfiletypes|

N  *+path_extra*	Up/downwards search in 'path' and 'tags'

m  *+perl*		Perl interface |perl|, may have |/dyn|

   *+postscript*	|:hardcopy| writes a PostScript file

N  *+printer*		|:hardcopy| command

m  *+python*		Python interface |python|, may have |/dyn|

N  *+quickfix*		|:make| and |quickfix| commands

B  *+rightleft*		Right to left typing |'rightleft'|

m  *+ruby*		Ruby interface |ruby|, may have |/dyn|

N  *+scrollbind*	|'scrollbind'|

B  *+signs*		|:sign|

N  *+smartindent*	|'smartindent'|

m  *+sniff*		SniFF interface |sniff|

N  *+statusline*	Options 'statusline', 'rulerformat' and special
			formats of 'titlestring' and 'iconstring'

m  *+sun_workshop*	|workshop|

N  *+syntax*		Syntax highlighting |syntax|

   *+system()*		Unix only: opposite of |+fork|

N  *+tag_binary*	binary searching in tags file |tag-binary-search|

N  *+tag_old_static*	old method for static tags |tag-old-static|

m  *+tag_any_white*	any white space allowed in tags file |tag-any-white|

m  *+tcl*		Tcl interface |tcl|, may have |/dyn|

   *+terminfo*		uses |terminfo| instead of termcap

N  *+termresponse*	support for |t_RV| and |v:termresponse|

N  *+textobjects*	|text-objects| selection

   *+tgetent*		non-Unix only: able to use external termcap

N  *+title*		Setting the window title |'title'|

N  *+toolbar*		|gui-toolbar|

N  *+user_commands*	User-defined commands. |user-commands|

N  *+viminfo*		|'viminfo'|

N  *+vertsplit*		Vertically split windows |:vsplit|

N  *+virtualedit*	|'virtualedit'|

S  *+visual*		Visual mode |Visual-mode|

N  *+visualextra*	extra Visual mode commands |blockwise-operators|

N  *+vreplace*		|gR| and |gr|

N  *+wildignore*	|'wildignore'|

N  *+wildmenu*		|'wildmenu'|

S  *+windows*		more than one window

m  *+writebackup*	|'writebackup'| is default on

m  *+xim*		X input method |xim|

   *+xfontset*		X fontset support |xfontset|

   *+xsmp*		XSMP (X session management) support

   *+xsmp_interact*	interactive XSMP (X session management) support

N  *+xterm_clipboard*	Unix only: xterm clipboard handling

m  *+xterm_save*	save and restore xterm screen |xterm-screens|

N  *+X11*		Unix only: can restore window title |X11|

							*/dyn* *E370* *E448*
			To some of the features "/dyn" is added when the
			feature is only available when the related library can
			be dynamically loaded.

:ve[rsion] {nr}		Is now ignored.  This was previously used to check the
			version number of a .vimrc file.  It was removed,
			because you can now use the ":if" command for
			version-dependent behavior.  {not in Vi}

							*:redi* *:redir*
:redi[r][!] > {file}	Redirect messages to file {file}.  The messages which
			are the output of commands are written to that file,
			until redirection ends.  The messages are also still
			shown on the screen.  When [!] is included, an
			existing file is overwritten.  When [!] is omitted,
			and {file} exists, this command fails.
			Only one ":redir" can be active at a time.  Calls to
			":redir" will close any active redirection before
			starting redirection to the new target.
			To stop the messages and commands from being echoed to
			the screen, put the commands in a function and call it
			with ":silent call Function()".
			{not in Vi}

:redi[r] >> {file}	Redirect messages to file {file}.  Append if {file}
			already exists.  {not in Vi}

:redi[r] @{a-zA-Z}	Redirect messages to register {a-z}.  Append to the
			contents of the register if its name is given
			uppercase {A-Z}.  {not in Vi}

:redi[r] @*		Redirect messages to the clipboard. {not in Vi}

:redi[r] @"		Redirect messages to the unnamed register. {not in Vi}

:redi[r] END		End redirecting messages.  {not in Vi}

						*:sil* *:silent*
:sil[ent][!] {command}	Execute {command} silently.  Normal messages will not
			be given or added to the message history.
			When [!] is added, error messages will also be
			skipped, and commands and mappings will not be aborted
			when an error is detected.  |v:errmsg| is still set.
			When [!] is not used, an error message will cause
			further messages to be displayed normally.
			Redirection, started with |:redir|, will continue as
			usual, although there might be small differences.
			This will allow redirecting the output of a command
			without seeing it on the screen.  Example:
			    :redir >/tmp/foobar
			    :silent g/Aap/p
			    :redir END
 			To execute a Normal mode command silently, use the
			|:normal| command.  For example, to search for a
			string without messages:
			    :silent exe "normal /path\<CR>"
 			":silent!" is useful to execute a command that may
			fail, but the failure is to be ignored.  Example:
			    :let v:errmsg = ""
			    :silent! /^begin
			    :if v:errmsg != ""
			    : ... pattern was not found
 			":silent" will also avoid the hit-enter prompt.  When
			using this for an external command, this may cause the
			screen to be messed up.  Use |CTRL-L| to clean it up
			":silent menu ..." defines a menu that will not echo a
			Command-line command.  The command will still produce
			messages though.  Use ":silent" in the command itself
			to avoid that: ":silent menu .... :silent command".

						*:verb* *:verbose*
:[count]verb[ose] {command}
			Execute {command} with 'verbose' set to [count].  If
			[count] is omitted one is used.
			The additional use of ":silent" makes messages
			generated but not displayed.
			The combination of ":silent" and ":verbose" can be
			used to generate messages and check them with
			|v:statusmsg| and friends.  For example:
				:let v:statusmsg = ""
				:silent verbose runtime foobar.vim
				:if v:statusmsg != ""
				:  " foobar.vim could not be found
 			When concatenating another command, the ":verbose"
			only applies to the first one:
				:4verbose set verbose | set verbose

K			Run a program to lookup the keyword under the
			cursor.  The name of the program is given with the
			'keywordprg' (kp) option (default is "man").  The
			keyword is formed of letters, numbers and the
			characters in 'iskeyword'.  The keyword under or
			right of the cursor is used.  The same can be done
			with the command
				:!{program} {keyword}
 			There is an example of a program to use in the tools
			directory of Vim.  It is called 'ref' and does a
			simple spelling check.
			Special cases:
			- If 'keywordprg' is empty, the ":help" command is
			  used.  It's a good idea to include more characters
			  in 'iskeyword' then, to be able to find more help.
			- When 'keywordprg' is equal to "man", a count before
			  "K" is inserted after the "man" command and before
			  the keyword.  For example, using "2K" while the
			  cursor is on "mkdir", results in:
				!man 2 mkdir
 			- When 'keywordprg' is equal to "man -s", a count
			  before "K" is inserted after the "-s".  If there is
			  no count, the "-s" is removed.
			{not in Vi}

{Visual}K		Like "K", but use the visually highlighted text for
			the keyword.  Only works when the highlighted text is
			not more than one line.  {not in Vi}

[N]gs							*gs* *:sl* *:sleep*
:[N]sl[eep] [N]	[m]	Do nothing for [N] seconds.  When [m] is included,
			sleep for [N] milliseconds. The count for "gs" always
			uses seconds.  The default is one second.
			     :sleep	     "sleep for one second
			     :5sleep	     "sleep for five seconds
			     :sleep 100m     "sleep for a hundred milliseconds
			     10gs	     "sleep for ten seconds
 			Can be interrupted with CTRL-C (CTRL-Break on MS-DOS).
			"gs" stands for "goto sleep".  While sleeping the
			cursor is positioned in the text (if visible).  {not
			in Vi}

g CTRL-A		Only when Vim was compiled with MEM_PROFILING defined
			(which is very rare): print memory usage statistics.
			Only useful for debugging Vim.


2. Online help						*online-help*

			*help* *<Help>* *:h* *:help* *<F1>* *i_<F1>* *i_<Help>*
<Help>		or
:h[elp]			Open a window and display the help file in read-only
			mode.  If there is a help window open already, use
			that one.  Otherwise, if the current window uses the
			full width of the screen or is at least 80 characters
			wide, the help window will appear just above the
			current window.  Otherwise the new window is put at
			the very top.
			The 'helplang' option is used to select a language, if
			the main help file is available in several languages.
			{not in Vi}

						*{subject}* *E149* *E661*
:h[elp] {subject}	Like ":help", additionally jump to the tag {subject}.
			{subject} can include wildcards like "*", "?" and
			   :help z?	jump to help for any "z" command
			   :help z.	jump to the help for "z."
			If there is no full match for the pattern, or there
			are several matches, the "best" match will be used.
			A sophisticated algorithm is used to decide which
			match is better than another one.  These items are
			considered in the computation:
			- A match with same case is much better than a match
			  with different case.
			- A match that starts after a non-alphanumeric
			  character is better than a match in the middle of a
			- A match at or near the beginning of the tag is
			  better than a match further on.
			- The more alphanumeric characters match, the better.
			- The shorter the length of the match, the better.

			The 'helplang' option is used to select a language, if
			the {subject} is available in several languages.
			To find a tag in a specific language, append "@ab",
			where "ab" is the two-letter language code.  See

			Note that the longer the {subject} you give, the less
			matches will be found.  You can get an idea how this
			all works by using commandline completion (type CTRL-D
			after ":help subject").
			If there are several matches, you can have them listed
			by hitting CTRL-D.  Example:
				:help cont<Ctrl-D>
 			To use a regexp |pattern|, first do ":help" and then
			use ":tag {pattern}" in the help window.  The
			":tnext" command can then be used to jump to other
			matches, "tselect" to list matches and choose one.
				:help index| :tse z.
 			This command can be followed by '|' and another
			command, but you don't need to escape the '|' inside a
			help command.  So these both work:
				:help |
				:help k| only
 			Note that a space before the '|' is seen as part of
			the ":help" argument.
			You can also use <LF> or <CR> to separate the help
			command from a following command.  You need to type
			CTRL-V first to insert the <LF> or <CR>.  Example:
				:help so<C-V><CR>only
 			{not in Vi}

:h[elp]! [subject]	Like ":help", but in non-English help files prefer to
			find a tag in a file with the same language as the
			current file.  See |help-translated|.

							*:helpg* *:helpgrep*
:helpg[rep] {pattern}
			Search all help text files and make a list of lines
			in which {pattern} matches.  Jumps to the first match.
			You can navigate through the matches with the
			|quickfix| commands, e.g., |:cnext| to jump to the
			next one.  Or use |:cwindow| to get the list of
			matches in the quickfix window.
			{pattern} is used as a Vim regexp |pattern|.
			'ignorecase' is not used, add "\c" to ignore case.
			Example for case sensitive search:
				:helpgrep Uganda
 			Example for case ignoring search:
				:helpgrep uganda\c
 			Cannot be followed by another command, everything is
			used as part of the pattern.  But you can use
			|:execute| when needed.
			Compressed help files will not be searched (Debian
			compresses the help files).
			{not in Vi}

When no argument is given to |:help| the file given with the 'helpfile' option
will be opened.  Otherwise the specified tag is searched for in all "doc/tags"
files in the directories specified in the 'runtimepath' option.

The initial height of the help window can be set with the 'helpheight' option
(default 20).

Jump to specific subjects by using tags.  This can be done in two ways:
- Use the "CTRL-]" command while standing on the name of a command or option.
  This only works when the tag is a keyword.  "<C-Leftmouse>" and
  "g<LeftMouse>" work just like "CTRL-]".
- use the ":ta {subject}" command.  This also works with non-keyword

Use CTRL-T or CTRL-O to jump back.
Use ":q" to close the help window.

If there are several matches for an item you are looking for, this is how you
can jump to each one of them:
1. Open a help window
2. Use the ":tag" command with a slash prepended to the tag.  E.g.:
	:tag /min
3. Use ":tnext" to jump to the next matching tag.

It is possible to add help files for plugins and other items.  You don't need
to change the distributed help files for that.  See |add-local-help|.

To write a local help file, see |write-local-help|.

Note that the title lines from the local help files are automagically added to
the "LOCAL ADDITIONS" section in the "help.txt" help file |local-additions|.
This is done when viewing the file in Vim, the file itself is not changed.  It
is done by going through all help files and obtaining the first line of each
file.  The files in $VIMRUNTIME/doc are skipped.

If you want to have the help in another xterm window, you could use this
	:!xterm -e vim +help &

			*:helpfind* *:helpf*
:helpf[ind]		Like |:help|, but use a dialog to enter the argument.
			Only for backwards compatibility.  It now executes the
			ToolBar.FindHelp menu entry instead of using a builtin
			dialog.  {only when compiled with YXXY+GUI_GTK|}
<			{not in Vi}

					*:helpt* *:helptags*

				*E154* *E150* *E151* *E152* *E153* *E670*
:helpt[ags] {dir}	Generate the help tags file(s) for directory {dir}.
			All "*.txt" and "*.??x" files in the directory are
			scanned for a help tag definition in between stars.
			The "*.??x" files are for translated docs, they
			generate the "tags-??" file, see |help-translated|.
			The generated tags files are sorted.
			When there are duplicates an error message is given.
			An existing tags file is silently overwritten.
			To rebuild the help tags in the runtime directory
			(requires write permission there):
				:helptags $VIMRUNTIME/doc
 			{not in Vi}

TRANSLATED HELP						*help-translated*

It is possible to add translated help files, next to the original English help
files.  Vim will search for all help in "doc" directories in 'runtimepath'.
This is only available when compiled with the |+multi_lang| feature.

A set of translated help files consists of these files:


"ab" is the two-letter language code.  Thus for Italian the names are:


The 'helplang' option can be set to the preferred language(s).  The default is
set according to the environment.  Vim will first try to find a matching tag
in the preferred language(s).  English is used when it cannot be found.

To find a tag in a specific language, append "@ab" to a tag, where "ab" is the
two-letter language code.  Example:
	:he user-manual@it
	:he user-manual@en
The first one finds the Italian user manual, even when 'helplang' is empty.
The second one finds the English user manual, even when 'helplang' is set to

When using command-line completion for the ":help" command, the "@en"
extention is only shown when a tag exists for multiple languages.  When the
tag only exists for English "@en" is omitted.

When using |CTRL-]| or ":help!" in a non-English help file Vim will try to
find the tag in the same language.  If not found then 'helplang' will be used
to select a language.

Help files must use latin1 or utf-8 encoding.  Vim assumes the encoding is
utf-8 when finding non-ASCII characters in the first line.  Thus you must
translate the header with "For Vim version".

The same encoding must be used for the help files of one language in one
directory.  You can use a different encoding for different languages and use
a different encoding for help files of the same language but in a different

Hints for translators:
- Do not translate the tags.  This makes it possible to use 'helplang' to
  specify the preferred language.  You may add new tags in your language.
- When you do not translate a part of a file, add tags to the English version,
using the "tag@en" notation. 
- Make a package with all the files and the tags file available for download.
  Users can drop it in one of the "doc" directories and start use it.
  Report this to Bram, so that he can add a link on
- Use the |:helptags| command to generate the tags files.  It will find all
  languages in the specified directory.


3. Printing						*printing*

On MS-Windows Vim can print your text on any installed printer.  On other
systems a PostScript file is produced.  This can be directly sent to a
PostScript printer.  For other printers a program like ghostscript needs to be

3.1 PostScript Printing			|postscript-printing|
3.2 PostScript Printing Encoding	|postscript-print-encoding|
3.3 PostScript Printing Troubleshooting |postscript-print-trouble|
3.4 PostScript Utilities		|postscript-print-util|
3.5 Formfeed Characters			|printing-formfeed|

{not in Vi}
{only available when compiled with |+printer| feature}

					*:ha* *:hardcopy* *E237* *E238* *E324*
:[range]ha[rdcopy][!] [arguments]
			Send [range] lines (default whole file) to the

			On MS-Windows a dialog is displayed to allow selection
			of printer, paper size etc. To skip the dialog, use
			the [!].  In this case the printer defined by
			'printdevice' is used, or, if 'printdevice' is empty,
			the system default printer.

			For systems other than MS-Windows, PostScript is
			written in a temp file and 'printexpr' is used to
			actually print it.  Then [arguments] can be used by
			'printexpr' through |v:cmdarg|.  Otherwise [arguments]
			is ignored.  'printoptions' can be used to specify
			paper size, duplex, etc.

:[range]ha[rdcopy][!] >{filename}
			As above, but write the resulting PostScript in file
			Things like "%" are expanded |cmdline-special|
			Careful: An existing file is silently overwritten.
			{only available when compiled with the |+postscript|
			On MS-Windows use the "print to file" feature of the
			printer driver.

Progress is displayed during printing as a page number and a percentage.  To
abort printing use the interrupt key (CTRL-C or, on MS-systems, CTRL-Break).

Printer output is controlled by the 'printfont' and 'printoptions' options.
'printheader' specifies the format of a page header.

The printed file is always limited to the selected margins, irrespective of
the current window's 'wrap' or 'linebreak' settings.  The "wrap" item in
'printoptions' can be used to switch wrapping off.
The current highlighting colors are used in the printout, with the following
1) The normal background is always rendered as white (i.e. blank paper.)
2) White text or the default foreground is rendered as black, so that it shows
3) If 'background' is "dark", then the colours are darkened to compensate for
   the fact that otherwise they would be too bright to show up clearly on
   white paper.

3.1 PostScript Printing					*postscript-printing*

						*E455* *E456* *E457* *E624*
Provided you have enough disk space there should be no problems generating a
PostScript file.  You need to have the runtime files correctly installed (if
you can find the help files, they probably are).

There are currently a number of limitations with PostScript printing:

- 'printfont' - The font name is ignored (the Courier family is always used -
  it should be available on all PostScript printers) but the font size is

- 'printoptions' - The duplex setting is used when generating PostScript
  output, but it is up to the printer to take notice of the setting.  If the
  printer does not support duplex printing then it should be silently ignored.
  Some printers, however, don't print at all.

- 8-bit support - While a number of 8-bit print character encodings are
  supported it is possible that some characters will not print.  Whether a
  character will print depends on the font in the printer knowing the
  character.  Missing characters will be replaced with an upside down question
  mark, or a space if that character is also not known by the font.  It may be
  possible to get all the characters in an encoding to print by installing a
  new version of the Courier font family.

- Multi-byte support - Currently VIM will try to convert multi-byte characters
  to the 8-bit encoding specified by 'printencoding' (or latin1 if it is
  empty).  Any characters that are not successfully converted are shown as
  unknown characters.  Printing will fail if VIM cannot convert the multi-byte
  to the 8-bit encoding.

3.2 Custom 8-bit Print Character Encodings	*postscript-print-encoding*

								*E618* *E619*
To use your own print character encoding when printing 8-bit character data
you need to define your own PostScript font encoding vector.  Details on how
to to define a font encoding vector is beyond the scope of this help file, but
you can find details in the PostScript Language Reference Manual, 3rd Edition,
published by Addison-Wesley and available in PDF form at The following describes what you need to do for VIM to
locate and use your print character encoding.

i.   Decide on a unique name for your encoding vector, one that does not clash
     with any of the recognized or standard encoding names that VIM uses (see
     |encoding-names| for a list), and that no one else is likely to use.
ii.  Copy $VIMRUNTIME/print/ to the print subdirectory in your
     'runtimepath' and rename it with your unique name.
iii. Edit your renamed copy of, replacing all occurrences of latin1
     with your unique name (don't forget the line starting %%Title:), and
     modify the array of glyph names to define your new encoding vector.  The
     array must have exactly 256 entries or you will not be able to print!
iv.  Within VIM, set 'printencoding' to your unique encoding name and then
     print your file.  VIM will now use your custom print character encoding.

VIM will report an error with the resource file if you change the order or
content of the first 3 lines, other than the name of the encoding on the line
starting %%Title: or the version number on the line starting %%Version:.

[Technical explanation for those that know PostScript - VIM looks for a file
with the same name as the encoding it will use when printing.  The file
defines a new PostScript Encoding resource called /VIM-name, where name is the
print character encoding VIM will use.]

3.3 PostScript Printing Troubleshooting		*postscript-print-trouble*

Usually the only sign of a problem when printing with PostScript is that your
printout does not appear.  If you are lucky you may get a printed page that
tells you the PostScript operator that generated the error that prevented the
print job completing.

There are a number of possible causes as to why the printing may have failed:

- Wrong version of the prolog resource file.  The prolog resource file
  contains some PostScript that VIM needs to be able to print.  Each version
  of VIM needs one particular version.  Make sure you have correctly installed
  the runtime files, and don't have any old versions of a file called prolog
  in the print directory in your 'runtimepath' directory.

- Paper size.  Some PostScript printers will abort printing a file if they do
  not support the requested paper size.  By default VIM uses A4 paper.  Find
  out what size paper your printer normally uses and set the appropriate paper
  size with 'printoptions'.  If you cannot find the name of the paper used,
  measure a sheet and compare it with the table of supported paper sizes listed
  for 'printoptions', using the paper that is closest in both width AND height.
  Note: The dimensions of actual paper may vary slightly from the ones listed.
  If there is no paper listed close enough, then you may want to try psresize
  from PSUtils, discussed below.

- Two-sided printing (duplex).  Normally a PostScript printer that does not
  support two-sided printing will ignore any request to do it.  However, some
  printers may abort the job altogether.  Try printing with duplex turned off.
  Note: Duplex prints can be achieved manually using PS utils - see below.

- Collated printing.  As with Duplex printing, most PostScript printers that
  do not support collating printouts will ignore a request to do so.  Some may
  not.  Try printing with collation turned off.

- Syntax highlighting.  Some print management code may prevent the generated
  PostScript file from being printed on a black and white printer when syntax
  highlighting is turned on, even if solid black is the only color used.  Try
  printing with syntax highlighting turned off.

A safe printoptions setting to try is:

	:set printoptions=paper:A4,duplex:off,collate:n,syntax:n

Replace "A4" with the paper size that best matches your printer paper.

3.4 PostScript Utilities			*postscript-print-util*

3.4.1 Ghostscript

Ghostscript is a PostScript and PDF interpreter that can be used to display
and print on non-PostScript printers PostScript and PDF files.  It can also
generate PDF files from PostScript.

Ghostscript will run on a wide variety of platforms.

There are three available versions:

- AFPL Ghostscript (formerly Aladdin Ghostscript) which is free for
  non-commercial use.  It can be obtained from:

- GNU Ghostscript which is available under the GNU General Public License.  It
  can be obtained from:

- A commercial version for inclusion in commercial products.

Additional information on Ghostscript can also be found at:

Support for a number of non PostScript printers is provided in the
distribution as standard, but if you cannot find support for your printer
check the Ghostscript site for other printers not included by default.

3.4.2 Ghostscript Previewers.

The interface to Ghostscript is very primitive so a number of graphical front
ends have been created.  These allow easier PostScript file selection,
previewing at different zoom levels, and printing.  Check supplied
documentation for full details.


- Ghostview.  Obtainable from:

- gv.  Derived from Ghostview.  Obtainable from:

  Copies (possibly not the most recent) can be found at:


- Is apparently supported in the main code now (untested).  See:

Windows and OS/2

- GSview.  Obtainable from:


- ps_view.  Obtainable from:


- GSview.  Linux version of the popular Windows and OS/2 previewer.
  Obtainable from:

- BMV.  Different from Ghostview and gv in that it doesn't use X but svgalib.
  Obtainable from:

3.4.3 PSUtils

PSUtils is a collection of utility programs for manipulating PostScript
documents.  Binary distributions are available for many platforms, as well as
the full source.  PSUtils can be found at:

The utilities of interest include:

- psnup.     Convert PS files for N-up printing.
- psselect.  Select page range and order of printing.
- psresize.  Change the page size.
- psbook.    Reorder and lay out pages ready for making a book.

The output of one program can be used as the input to the next, allowing for
complex print document creation.


The psnup utility takes an existing PostScript file generated from VIM and
convert it to an n-up version.  The simplest way to create a 2-up printout is
to first create a PostScript file with:

	:hardcopy >

Then on your command line execute:

	psnup -n 2

Note: You may get warnings from some Ghostscript previewers for files produced
by psnup - these may safely be ignored.

Finally print the file to your PostScript printer with your
platform's print command.  (You will need to delete the two PostScript files
afterwards yourself.)  'printexpr' could be modified to perform this extra
step before printing.


It is possible to achieve a poor man's version of duplex printing using the PS
utility psselect.  This utility has options -e and -o for printing just the
even or odd pages of a PS file respectively.

First generate a PS file with the 'hardcopy' command, then generate a new
files with all the odd and even numbered pages with:

	psselect -o
	psselect -e

Next print with your platform's normal print command.  Then take the
print output, turn it over and place it back in the paper feeder.  Now print with your platform's print command.  All the even pages should now
appear on the back of the odd pages.

There a couple of points to bear in mind:

1. Position of the first page.  If the first page is on top of the printout
   when printing the odd pages then you need to reverse the order that the odd
   pages are printed.  This can be done with the -r option to psselect.  This
   will ensure page 2 is printed on the back of page 1.
   Note: it is better to reverse the odd numbered pages rather than the even
   numbered in case there are an odd number of pages in the original PS file.

2. Paper flipping.  When turning over the paper with the odd pages printed on
   them you may have to either flip them horizontally (along the long edge) or
   vertically (along the short edge), as well as possibly rotating them 180
   degrees.  All this depends on the printer - it will be more obvious for
   desktop ink jets than for small office laser printers where the paper path
   is hidden from view.

3.5 Formfeed Characters					*printing-formfeed*

By default VIM does not do any special processing of |formfeed| control
characters.  Setting the 'printoptions' formfeed item will make VIM recognize
formfeed characters and continue printing the current line at the beginning
of the first line on a new page.  The use of formfeed characters provides
rudimentary print control but there are certain things to be aware of.

VIM will always start printing a line (including a line number if enabled)
containing a formfeed character, even if it is the first character on the
line.  This means if a line starting with a formfeed character is the first
line of a page then VIM will print a blank page.

Since the line number is printed at the start of printing the line containing
the formfeed character, the remainder of the line printed on the new page
will not have a line number printed for it (in the same way as the wrapped
lines of a long line when wrap in 'printoptions' is enabled).

If the formfeed character is the last character on a line, then printing will
continue on the second line of the new page, not the first.  This is due to
VIM processing the end of the line after the formfeed character and moving
down a line to continue printing.

Due to the points made above it is recommended that when formfeed character
processing is enabled, printing of line numbers is disabled, and that form
feed characters are not the last character on a line.  Even then you may need
to adjust the number of lines before a formfeed character to prevent
accidental blank pages.


4. Using Vim like less or more					*less*

If you use the less or more program to view a file, you don't get syntax
highlighting.  Thus you would like to use Vim instead.  You can do this by
using the shell script "$VIMRUNTIME/macros/".

This shell script uses the Vim script "$VIMRUNTIME/macros/less.vim".  It sets
up mappings to simulate the commands that less supports.  Otherwise, you can
still use the Vim commands.

This isn't perfect.  For example, when viewing a short file Vim will still use
the whole screen.  But it works good enough for most uses, and you get syntax

The "h" key will give you a short overview of the available commands.

top - main help file