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What is this?

SmartIM is a plugin to make vim stand well with input methods. It switches the input method to the default keyboard (usually English) when leaving insert mode and switches back when you enter insert mode again. It consists of 2 tiny programs:

  • im-select: a command-line utility to get/set active input method
  • smartim.vim: a vim plugin to do automatic input method switch, using im-select

It is Mac-only for now.



  1. Add this line to your ~/.vimrc file: Plugin 'ybian/smartim'
  2. Open vim and run :PluginInstall


  1. cd ~/.vim/bundle
  2. git clone


  1. Clone this repository to your local disk
  2. Copy im-select and smartim.vim (both are under plugin directory) to your vim plugin directory (usually .vim/plugins)

Then, enjoy the convenience!


Why is it Mac-only?

Because the command-line utility im-select uses Mac specific APIs. It should be easy to develop equivalents for other platforms but I just don't have the time to do so.

Can I use im-select as a standalone utility?

Sure. The usage is very simple: invoke it with no argument to get the ID string of current active input method; invoke it with an ID string to set current input method.

$ im-select # print the ID string of your active input method
$ im-select # change your active input method

What should I do if my default keyboard is not US English?

SmartIM assumes your default keyboard is US English ( If you want to change this, please add the following line to your .vimrc:

let g:smartim_default = '<your_default_keyboard_id>'

Replace <your_default_keyboard_id> with the ID string of your input method (which can be get via im-select)

Somehow I want to disable this plugin

For example, some people reported that it is slow while editing with vim-multiple-cursors, to fix this, put this in .vimrc:

function! Multiple_cursors_before()
  let g:smartim_disable = 1
function! Multiple_cursors_after()
  unlet g:smartim_disable

I have other problems to debug...

Follow the following steps:

  1. Run vim with vim --cmd 'let g:smartim_debug=1'
  2. Enter and leave insert mode for a couple of times to reproduce your problem; then exit vim.
  3. Open an issue on github and attach the content of ~/vim_smartim_debug_output


A Vim plugin to make it stand well with input methods (Mac only)




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