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What is Vim?

Vim is an almost compatible version of the UNIX editor Vi. Many new features have been added: multi-level undo, syntax highlighting, command line history, on-line help, spell checking, filename completion, block operations, etc. There is also a Graphical User Interface (GUI) available. See runtime/doc/vi_diff.txt for differences with Vi.

This editor is very useful for editing programs and other plain text files. All commands are given with normal keyboard characters, so those who can type with ten fingers can work very fast. Additionally, function keys can be defined by the user, and the mouse can be used.

Vim runs under MS-DOS, MS-Windows (NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10), Macintosh, VMS and almost all flavours of UNIX. Porting to other systems should not be very difficult. Older versions of Vim run on MS-Windows 95/98/Me, Amiga DOS, Atari MiNT, BeOS, RISC OS and OS/2. These are no longer maintained.


You can often use your favorite package manager to install Vim. On Mac and Linux a small version of Vim is pre-installed, you still need to install Vim if you want more features.

There are separate distributions for Unix, PC, Amiga and some other systems. This file comes with the runtime archive. It includes the documentation, syntax files and other files that are used at runtime. To run Vim you must get either one of the binary archives or a source archive. Which one you need depends on the system you want to run it on and whether you want or must compile it yourself. Check for an overview of currently available distributions.


The vim tutor is a one hour training course for beginners. Mostly it can be started as vimtutor. See :help tutor for more information.

The best is to use :help in Vim. If you don't have an executable yet, read runtime/doc/help.txt. It contains pointers to the other documentation files. The User Manual reads like a book and is recommended to learn to use Vim. See :help user-manual.


Vim is Charityware. You can use and copy it as much as you like, but you are encouraged to make a donation to help orphans in Uganda. Please read the file runtime/doc/uganda.txt for details (do :help uganda inside Vim).

Summary of the license: There are no restrictions on using or distributing an unmodified copy of Vim. Parts of Vim may also be distributed, but the license text must always be included. For modified versions a few restrictions apply. The license is GPL compatible, you may compile Vim with GPL libraries and distribute it.


Fixing bugs and adding new features takes a lot of time and effort. To show your appreciation for the work and motivate Bram and others to continue working on Vim please send a donation.

Since Bram is back to a paid job the money will now be used to help children in Uganda. See runtime/doc/uganda.txt. But at the same time donations increase Bram's motivation to keep working on Vim!

For the most recent information about sponsoring look on the Vim web site:


If you obtained a binary distribution you don't need to compile Vim. If you obtained a source distribution, all the stuff for compiling Vim is in the src directory. See src/INSTALL for instructions.


See one of these files for system-specific instructions:

README_ami.txt      Amiga
README_unix.txt     Unix
README_dos.txt      MS-DOS and MS-Windows
README_mac.txt      Macintosh
README_vms.txt      VMS

There are more README_*.txt files, depending on the distribution you used.


If you would like to help making Vim better, see the file.


The latest news about Vim can be found on the Vim home page:

If you have problems, have a look at the Vim documentation or tips:

If you still have problems or any other questions, use one of the mailing lists to discuss them with Vim users and developers:

If nothing else works, report bugs directly: Bram Moolenaar

Main author

Send any other comments, patches, flowers and suggestions to: Bram Moolenaar

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