Tutorial: Using Vim Editor Emulation in PyCharm
In this section:
- Before you start
- Downloading and installing IdeaVim plugin
- What happens to PyCharm's UI after restart?
- Configuring shortcuts
- Editing modes
Before you start
Make sure that the following prerequisites are met:
- You are working with PyCharm version 4.0.0 or higher. If you still do not have PyCharm, download it from this page. To install PyCharm, follow the instructions, depending on your platform.
- You have at least one Python interpreter properly installed on your computer. You can download an interpreter from this page.
Downloading and installing IdeaVim plugin
You see the list of plugins currently installed on you computer. However, the IdeaVim plugin is not among them. Click the button Browse JetBrains plugins. PyCharm shows the contents of the huge JetBrains repository... you can type the word "vim" in the search field to narrow down the list:
After installing the plugin, it actually becomes available after PyCharm restart:
What happens to PyCharm's UI after restart?
First, on themenu, a check command appears:
After PyCharm restart, this check command is selected. You can disable Vim by clearing this check command.
Second, in Settings/Preferences dialog, an additional node Other Settings appears, with the page Vim Emulation. This page appears after restart!
Both Vim and PyCharm are keyboard-centric. With IdeaVim plugin, it is quite possible that PyCharm's keymap runs into a conflict with the Vim keymap. That's why PyCharm allows you choosing which keyboard shortcut you prefer for a certain action. This is how it's done.
Open Settings/Preferences dialog, and under the node Other Settings, click Vim Emulation:
In the Shortcut column, select the shortcut you want to configure. Next, in the Handler column, click the corresponding cell, and see the drop-down list of three possible options (Undefined, Vim, IDE):
If you choose IDE, it means that the PyCharm's shortcut for this particular action is enabled. When you press, say, Ctrl+Z, PyCharm silently performs its action.
If you leave the handler undefined, then, on pressing the shortcut, say, Ctrl+B, PyCharm shows the following banner:
You can choose to redefine this shortcut as an IDE shortcut and thus accept the PyCharm's keymap. To do so, click the link IDE shortcut.
If you click the link Vim Emulation, then PyCharm will show the Vim Emulation page of the Settings/Preferences dialog.
For the purposes of this tutorial, click the link Vim Emulation. Then, when you press Ctrl+B, PyCharm will perform the Vim action for this keyboard shortcut.
OK, now that you have Vim enabled, you see that the cursor has changed its shape - now it is a block, which means that you are in the Normal mode:
If you want to enter the Insert mode,
i, and the cursor will turn into a line:
In this mode you can type new or change the existing code. Same way, you can enter the various Vim modes: for example,
r for the Replace mode.
By the way, as soon as you enter Vim emulation, it is also reported in the Status bar:
To return to the Normal mode, press Escape.