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Useful tricks to know when editing PDF files with VIM

  1. Always start up using vim -b! (Without the -b Vim would try to do its clever tricks on a binary-including file the wrong way.) Make this a habit. Only binary editing mode (as triggered by -b) will correctly give byte-counting if needed.

  2. Once a PDF is open, you can use the :goto 3456 command to jump to byte offset 3456. Useful if you want to check xref entries.

  3. Remember, how to open (in your default PDF viewer) the currently edited PDF file from within Vim: :!open % (OSX), :!xdg-open % (Linux), :!start % (Windows). (You know that % is a VIM shorthand variable for 'currently opened file', right?)

  4. Define a custom status line which returns useful info about the current cursor position. Here is a suggestion:


    What these settings mean:

    %F     :   currently open file name (with full path)
    %m     :   modified flag (*`[+]`* if modified)
    %r     :   readonly flag (*`[RO]`* if readonly)
    %h     :   helpfile flag (*`[help]`* if helpfile -- maybe localized as *`[Hilfe]`*)
    %w     :   preview window flag (*`[Preview]`* if applicable)
    %L     :   total lines
    %{&ff} :   file format (unix, dos,...)
    %y     :   file type as automatically recognized or manually set
    %p%%   :   relative position of cursor within file in percent
    %06l   :   current line position (column) of cursor, left padded with zeroes
    %06v   :   current line/row number of cursor, left padded with zeroes
    %b     :   ASCII value of the current character under cursor
    %B     :   HEX value of current character under cursor
    %o     :   file byte offset of cursor

    Now a quick look on the status line shows the current file byte offset, line position, HEX value of character,...

  5. How to jump to a specific byte offset (calculated from the start of the file):

     :goto 37737


     :go 37737

    or simply (without the : to switch to command mode):

  6. Looking at binary bytes? But want them displayed as Hex? Then try this:

     :set display=uhex

    Otherwise, the ga command displays the value of the character under the cursor.

    g CTRL+g shows which byte offset you are at in the file.

Copyright (c) 2015

License: Creative Commons "CC-BY-NC-SA" v4.0