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sneak.vim :shoe:

Sneak is a minimalist, versatile Vim motion plugin that jumps to any location specified by two characters. It works with multiple lines, operators (including repeat . and surround), keymaps, visual mode, unicode ("multibyte"), and macros. Many details have been carefully balanced to minimize friction between intent and action.

The plugin chooses sane defaults, easily changed via <Plug> mappings (see :help sneak).

New Option: Use Sneak as a minimalist alternative to EasyMotion:

let g:sneak#streak = 1

Usage (Default)

Sneak is invoked with s followed by exactly two characters:

  • Press sab to move the cursor immediately to the next instance of the text "ab".
    • Additional matches, if any, are highlighted until the cursor is moved.
  • Press ; to go to the next match (or s again, if s_next is enabled; see :help sneak).
  • Press 3; to skip to the third match from the current position.
  • Press ctrl-o or `` to go back to the starting point.
    • This is a built-in Vim motion; Sneak adds to Vim's jumplist only on s invocation—not repeats—so you can abandon a trail of ; or , by a single ctrl-o or ``.
  • Press s<Enter> at any time to repeat the last Sneak-search.
  • Press S to search backwards.

Sneak can be scoped to a column of width 2×[number] by prefixing s with a number.

  • Press 5sxy to go immediately to the next instance of "xy" within 5 columns of the cursor.
    • A highlight block indicates the vertical scope.

Sneak is invoked with operators via z (because s is taken by surround.vim).

  • Press 3dzqt to delete up to the third instance of "qt".
    • Press . to repeat the 3dzqt operation.
    • Press 2. to repeat twice.
    • Press d; to delete up to the next match.
    • Press 4d; to delete up to the fourth next match.
  • Press ysz))] to surround in brackets up to )).
    • Press ; to go to the next )).
  • Press gUz\} to upper-case the text from the cursor until the next instance of the literal text \}
    • Press . to repeat the gUz\} operation.


l  f  t  %  'm  }  ]m  ]]  M  L     /

Vim's built-in motions cover many special cases, but it's awkward to move across several lines to an arbitrary position: f is restricted to the current line, and / is clunky for medium-distance motion.

Compare Sneak to Vim's built-in / and other plugins:

  • minimum of 3 keystrokes
  • repeat motion via ; and ,
  • repeat operation via .
  • move anywhere, even offscreen
  • jump immediately to first match
  • only the initial invocation adds to the jumplist
  • preserves default behavior of f t F T ; ,
  • avoids noise in / history
  • count prefix invokes vertical scope
  • always literal: s\* jumps to the literal \*
  • supports mbyte-keymaps (#47)


  • Manual installation:
    • Copy the files to your .vim directory (_vimfiles on Windows).
  • Pathogen
    • cd ~/.vim/bundle && git clone git://
  • Vundle
    1. Add Bundle 'justinmk/vim-sneak' to .vimrc
    2. Run :BundleInstall
  • NeoBundle
    1. Add NeoBundle 'justinmk/vim-sneak' to .vimrc
    2. Run :NeoBundleInstall
  • vim-plug
    1. Add Plug 'justinmk/vim-sneak' to .vimrc
    2. Run :PlugInstall

If you want to repeat Sneak operations (like dzab) with dot ., then repeat.vim is required.


Why not use /?

For the same reason that Vim has motions like f and t: common operations should use as few keystrokes as possible.

  • /ab<cr> requires 33% more keystrokes than sab
  • Sneak remembers only the initial position in the Vim jumplist—so you can explore a trail of matches via ;, then return to the start with a single ctrl-o or ``
  • Sneak doesn't clutter your search history
  • Sneak is always literal (no need to escape special characters)
  • Sneak has smarter, subtler highlighting
  • Sneak Streak-Mode

Why not use f?

  • Sneak is fifty times more precise than f or t
  • Sneak moves vertically
  • Sneak highlights matches in the direction of your search

How dare you remap s?

You can specify any mapping for Sneak (see :help sneak). By the way: cl is equivalent to s, and cc is equivalent to S.

How can I replace f with Sneak?

    nmap f <Plug>Sneak_s
    nmap F <Plug>Sneak_S
    xmap f <Plug>Sneak_s
    xmap F <Plug>Sneak_S
    omap f <Plug>Sneak_s
    omap F <Plug>Sneak_S

How can I replace f and/or t with one-character Sneak?

Sneak provides <Plug> convenience-mappings for f and t 1-character-sneak. These mappings do not invoke streak-mode, even if you have it enabled.

    "replace 'f' with 1-char Sneak
    nmap f <Plug>Sneak_f
    nmap F <Plug>Sneak_F
    xmap f <Plug>Sneak_f
    xmap F <Plug>Sneak_F
    omap f <Plug>Sneak_f
    omap F <Plug>Sneak_F
    "replace 't' with 1-char Sneak
    nmap t <Plug>Sneak_t
    nmap T <Plug>Sneak_T
    xmap t <Plug>Sneak_t
    xmap T <Plug>Sneak_T
    omap t <Plug>Sneak_t
    omap T <Plug>Sneak_T

I want to use an "f-enhancement" plugin simultaneously with Sneak

Sneak is intended to replace the so-called f-enhancement plugins. You can use both, but Sneak won't be able to hook into f, which means ; and , will always repeat the last Sneak.



Sneak tries to be well-behaved and annoyance-free. If you find a bug, please report it, and perhaps include the output of:

:call sneak#debug#report()

Sneak is tested on a 10-MB, 400k-lines, syntax-highlighted file with Vim 7.2.330, 7.3, 7.4.


Copyright © Justin M. Keyes. Distributed under the MIT license.

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