Vim normal mode commands are made up of verbs, adverbs, and nouns. Many of them are mnemonic such as visual, change, yank and delete. Others like ` are less obviously “go to” in context of a mark.
Let’s break down a relatively verbose Vim normal mode command:
"wya]}[ "wpa: <https://example.com><Esc>vi>
"wApply the next command to a register named “w”. “w” happened to be an unused register in my Vim setup.
ya]Yank the text around the brackets.
}Move the cursor to the first line after the current paragraph.
[Insert a blank line above the cursor, but don’t move the cursor and stay in normal mode. The space is “
” in :help files.
"wAgain, do something with the “w” register.
pPaste its contents.
aOpen insert mode to append after the character under the cursor.
: <https://example.com>Insert that literal text.
<Esc>Press escape, bringing us back to normal mode from insert mode.
vi>Visually select inside angle brackets.
So what does this do?
With your cursor inside [brackets] as on this line
Insert the text
[brackets]: <https://example.com> after the paragraph, leaving
a blank line above. Visually select the link text and leave it to me to make
changes if desired.
This is great when authoring a post in Markdown when you’d like to add a link to
some text. I have it mapped to
<Leader>e in Markdown files with:
autocmd filetype markdown nnoremap <Leader>e :normal "wya]}[ "wpa: <https://example.com><Esc>vi>
Combine it with
ysa2w] for even more fun. What does it do?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t play nicely if the current paragraph is followed by an
EOF, as the
} motion moves to the end of the paragraph and does not create a
Can you fix this? (hover for the answer.) You might need to open up the
:help files and jump around a bit until you have about 2 more
commands under your belt.