Read Unix man pages faster than a speeding bullet!
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Vim SuperMan

Read Unix man pages faster than a speeding bullet!

Unix man pages by default open with the less pager. Getting them to open with Vim can be a little bit of a pain, but in recent versions of Vim there's a plugin ($VIMRUNTIME/ftplugin/man.vim) that makes this easy.

This is a simple Vim plugin and sh function that makes replacing man from the command line a cinch.


Use your favorite plugin manager. If you don't have one, I'd recommend Vundle, though you should probably also take a look at Pathogen, as it's more common.

# if your ~/.vim folder isn't under source control:
git clone ~/.vim/bundle/vim-superman

# if your ~/.vim folder is under source control:
git submodule add ~/.vim/bundle/vim-superman

Then, add the following to your .bashrc, .bash_profile, .zshrc, or whatever file you use to configure your shell:

vman() {
  vim -c "SuperMan $*"

  if [ "$?" != "0" ]; then
    echo "No manual entry for $*"

Close and reopen your terminal and you're set! You can even add

compdef vman="man"

to your ~/.zshrc or

complete -o default -o nospace -F _man vman

to your ~/.bashrc to get tab completion. (Thanks to texasflood for the Bash completion snippet.)


This predominantly a command line tool. To open the man page for vim:

$ vman vim

vman vim

It's that simple. The underlying :Man command supports specifying a specific section, so you could also do something like

$ vman 3 printf

To see the man page for the C printf() library call.

vman 3 printf


For more information, see the associated blog post.

Jake, why not just call the bash function man?

The actual man command supports many more features than the Vim plugin does (for a complete list, see man(1)). If you shadow the real man command, things start to break, for example apropos, which uses man under the hood.

When I install vim-superman it looks nothing like this!

There are a couple other plugins of mine featured prominently here, including Solarized Dark for the color scheme and Vim Airline for the statusbar. If you're curious about my whole setup, be sure to check out my dotfiles repository.


MIT License. See LICENSE.