README.txt for version 5.6 of Vim: Vi IMproved.
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, filename completion, block operations, etc. There is also a
Graphical User Interface (GUI) available. See doc/vi_diff.txt.
This editor is very useful for editing programs and other plain ASCII 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 currently runs under Amiga DOS, MS-DOS, MS-Windows 95/98/NT, Atari MiNT,
Macintosh, BeOS, VMS, RISC OS, OS/2 and almost all flavours of UNIX.
Porting to other systems should not be very difficult.
There are separate distributions for Unix, PC, Amiga and some other systems.
This README.txt 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 "ftp://ftp.vim.org/pub/vim" for an
overview of currently available distributions.
The best is to use ":help" in Vim. If you don't have an executable (yet),
read doc/help.txt. It contains pointers to the other documentation files.
"tutor/README" is a one hour training course for beginners.
Vim is Charityware. You can use and copy it as much as you like, but you are
encouraged to make a donation to orphans in Uganda. Please read the file
"doc/uganda.txt" for details.
If you include Vim on a CD-ROM, I would like to receive a copy. Just so I
know which Vim distributions exists in the world (and to show off to my
There are no restrictions on distributing an unmodified copy of Vim. Parts of
Vim may also be distributed, but this text must always be included. You are
allowed to include executables that you made from the unmodified Vim sources,
your own usage examples and Vim scripts.
If you distribute a modified version of Vim, you are encouraged to send the
maintainer a copy, including the source code. Or make it available to the
maintainer through ftp; let him know where it can be found. If the number of
changes is small (e.g., a modified Makefile) e-mailing the diffs will do.
When the maintainer asks for it (in any way) you must make your changes,
including source code, available to him.
The maintainer reserves the right to include any changes in the official
version of Vim. This is negotiable. You are not allowed to distribute a
modified version of Vim when you are not willing to make the source code
available to the maintainer.
The current maintainer is Bram Moolenaar <Bram@vim.org>. If this changes, it
will be announced in appropriate places (most likely www.vim.org and
comp.editors). When it is completely impossible to contact the maintainer,
the obligation to send him modified source code is dropped.
It is not allowed to remove these restrictions from the distribution of the
Vim sources or parts of it. These restrictions may also be used for previous
Vim releases instead of the text that was included with it.
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.
First check for a "README_xxx.txt" file for specific instructions for your
For Unix, when you use the source distribution, "make install" is used to
install Vim. See src/INSTALL. If you use a compiled package, follow the
instructions for the package.
For most other systems, unpack the distributed files in the place where you
want to keep them. It is wise to have a "vim" directory to keep your vimrc
file and any other files you change. The distributed files go into a
subdirectory. This way you can easily upgrade to a new version. For example:
dh0:editors/vim contains your vimrc and modified files
dh0:editors/vim/vim54 contains the Vim version 5.4 distributed files
dh0:editors/vim/vim55 contains the Vim version 5.5 distributed files
Set the $VIM environment variable to point to the top directory of your Vim
files. For the above example:
Vim version 5.4 will look for your vimrc file in $VIM, and for the runtime
files in $VIM/vim54. See ":help $VIM" for more information.
Make sure the Vim executable is in your search path. Either copy the Vim
executable to a directory that is in your search path, or (preferred) modify
the search path to include the directory where the Vim executable is.
The latest news about Vim can be found on the Vim home page:
If you have problems, have a look at the Vim FAQ:
Send bug reports to:
Bram Moolenaar <Bram@vim.org>
There are four mailing lists for Vim:
For discussions about using existing versions of Vim: Useful mappings,
questions, answers, where to get a specific version, etc.
For discussions about changing Vim: New features, porting, beta-test
Announcements about new versions of Vim; also beta-test versions and
ports to different systems.
For discussions about using and improving the multi-byte aspects of
Vim: XIM, Hangul, fontset, etc.
- You can only send messages to these lists if you have subscribed!
- You need to send the messages from the same location as where you subscribed
from (to avoid spam mail).
- Maximum message size is 40000 characters.
If you want to join, send a message to
Make sure that your "From:" address is correct. Then the list server will
send you a help message.
Send any other comments, patches, pizza and suggestions to:
Bram Moolenaar E-mail: Bram@vim.org
5925 BE Venlo Fax: +31 20 8823205
The Netherlands Tel: +31 77 3872340