Seek is a Vim plugin with the simpleminded goal of making long-line navigation effortless, mostly acting like Vim’s f but taking two characters instead.
This plugin introduces the seek motion, summoned with
default. Instead of one character like
f, it expects two
characters to be typed. This greatly reduces the possible matches
within the line and mostly allows you to get anywhere in a line with
just three keystrokes. Limiting movement to the current line, much
f does, is a usability consideration, making seek predictable,
precise and solving a defined problem: it’s a motion for within the
line, not cross-line. If there’s no match, your cursor doesn’t go
anywhere. Otherwise, the cursor is left off at the first character
typed, so if you seek to “th” your cursor will now be at “t”. The
forward seek motion is complemented by
S, which seeks backwards.
There are other unique features, notably leaps (see Leaping motions section), but if you’re looking for something more featureful, including extending movement across lines and even doing some of what EasyMotion does, you should look for vim-sneak, which fortunately picked up from my inactivity on vim-seek development, though also probably because vim-seek has been quite opinionated from the beginning.
The idea was borne out of frustration with getting at arbitrary points
in longer lines, especially ones where navigating by word—on top of
needing precise counts—gets mangled by symbols. It also filled a great
need for faster navigation and editing of prose. The motion
misfires by taking you to an earlier spot than where you aimed, and a
/ search is too cumbersome, needing an extra
leaving a highlight, and worst of all, might accidentally take you far
away from the current line. Seek only works within the line (that’s a
What about substitute?
Vim, by default, maps the
s key to substitute. That it is the
perfect mnemonic to seek is a fortunate coincidence, but the choice
was made because substitute (without a count) is an often inefficient
command, being—ironically—easily substituted by others. Seek doesn’t
take a count by default, so whenever you supply a count to
s it will
map to the substitute command. However, if you don’t use the
substitute commmand at all, you can add
let g:seek_subst_disable = 1
.vimrc in order to allow counts for actual seeks.
The single character substitution can be accomplished with either
S, which is remapped to seek backwards, is completely
However, if you don’t want to give up substitute, you can scroll down to the Customization section.
I already use EasyMotion..
Seek solves a different problem, and both are powerful tools.
EasyMotion is great for navigating across lines and around the
file. But within the line, seek has more speed, for a very important
reason: with seek you already know the keys you need to type before
you even type
s. Using EasyMotion there’s a split second delay for
it to generate the targets and another for your brain to process
them. With seek you just type three quick keystrokes; you already know
what to type.
Additional motions are provided as operator-pending only. That is,
they only work when used after
y, and not by themselves.
x is to seek what
t is to
f. Standing for ‘cut short
\[of the target\]’, it acts up to the first character typed, but
doesn’t include it. This is in contrast to
s itself, which does
include the first character typed—to keep it consistent with
behavior—but not the second character.
My personal favorites,
r (remote leap) and
p (presential leap) act
on the next word containing the characters typed. They’re the
r snipes the target word from a distance,
p leaps to the target and stays there. So you can use
yank the next word containing “th” without leaving your position (in
reality Vim goes there and leaps back, fast enough that you don’t
see), and that’s useful for pasting it to where you are. Or you can
code to leap to the next word with “de”, deleting around it
(aw) and leaving you in insert mode.
p use the inner word text object, the respective
o are the equivalent outer word
To enable the leaping mappings you need to add the following to your
let g:seek_enable_jumps = 1. They don’t work in diff mode by
default, because the mode uses
do for other purposes, but
you can override this by also adding
= 1 to your vimrc.
As expected, all these advanced mappings are complemented by their capital letter versions, which operate backwards.
You can customize any of the keys that seek binds by adding lines such as the following to your vimrc. All the alternative keys shown below are just examples of customization, you can bind whichever keys you want.
Change s and S:
let g:SeekKey = '<Space>' // note: <S-Space> doesn't work in terminal vim. let g:SeekBackKey = '<S-Space>'=
Change x and X:
let g:SeekCutShortKey = '-' let g:SeekBackCutShortKey = '+'
Change p and P:
let g:seekJumpPresentialInnerKey = '<Leader>p' let g:seekBackJumpPresentialInnerKey = '<Leader>P'
Change r and R:
let g:seekJumpRemoteInnerKey = '<Leader>r' let g:seekBackJumpRemoteInnerKey = '<Leader>R'
Change o and O:
let g:seekJumpPresentialAroundKey = '<Leader>o' let g:seekBackJumpPresentialAroundKey = '<Leader>O'
Change u and U
let g:seekJumpRemoteAroundKey = '<Leader>u' let g:seekBackJumpPresentialInnerKey = '<Leader>U'
Or you can use a shorthand version to redefine all seek keys:
let g:SeekKeys = '<Space> <S-Space> - + <Leader>p <Leader>P' <Leader>r <Leader>R <Leader>o <Leader>O <Leader>u <Leader>U
Though it must always follow the order, you can simply use the defaults for keys you don’t want to change, and you can truncate the string to leave the remaining unchanged:
let g:SeekKeys = 's S - +' // will not change jump keys.
- Create a doc file moving customization help out of this readme;
- Repeat the last seek with
;and =,= (same keys used for
- (Optional) Respect user’s
smartcasesettings, so that you can seek to a capital letter by typing the lowercase character;
- Condensed jump mappings to allow you to use just one of
p(or yet another key) for all jump motions, whereby you define which you want to be remote and which presential (e.g.
clends itself more to being presential,
yto be remote, while
dhas good use of both).