Vim Splits - Move Faster and More Naturally

Adarsh Pandit

Most of us are Vim users and have tweaked our favorite editor for speed and convenience. See thoughtbot’s dotfiles.

One of my favorite tools is the window split. Here is a quick splits overview and configurations to use them more effectively.

The basics

Create a vertical split using :vsp and horizontal with :sp.

By default, they duplicate the current buffer. This command also takes a filename:

:vsp ~/.vimrc

You can specify the new split height by prefixing with a number:

:10sp ~/.zshrc

Close the split like you would close vim:


Easier split navigations

We can use different key mappings for easy navigation between splits to save a keystroke. So instead of ctrl-w then j, it’s just ctrl-j:

nnoremap <C-J> <C-W><C-J>
nnoremap <C-K> <C-W><C-K>
nnoremap <C-L> <C-W><C-L>
nnoremap <C-H> <C-W><C-H>

More natural split opening

Open new split panes to right and bottom, which feels more natural than Vim’s default:

set splitbelow
set splitright

Resizing splits

Vim’s defaults are useful for changing split shapes:

"Max out the height of the current split
ctrl + w _

"Max out the width of the current split
ctrl + w |

"Normalize all split sizes, which is very handy when resizing terminal
ctrl + w =

More split manipulation

"Swap top/bottom or left/right split
Ctrl+W R

"Break out current window into a new tabview
Ctrl+W T

"Close every window in the current tabview but the current one
Ctrl+W o

Please :help me

As with everything in Vim, for more information, check the well-written helpfiles. In Vim, :help splits.

What’s next

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