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Keep your cursor centered vertically on the screen

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created 2001 · complexity basic · version 6.0


When scrolling or searching through a large file, it can be convenient to keep the cursor line near the middle of the screen (vertically centered within the window). This tip introduces the scrolloff option, and shows another possible technique using the zz command.

Scrolloff option

The 'scrolloff' (scroll offset) option determines the number of context lines you would like to see above and below the cursor. The following command scrolls the text so that (when possible) there are always at least five lines visible above the cursor, and five lines visible below the cursor:

:set scrolloff=5

The above command can be abbreviated as :set so=5. Entering :set so=0 restores the default behavior so the cursor can be moved to any line in the window without scrolling.

Centering with scrolloff

Setting 'scrolloff' to a large value causes the cursor to stay in the middle line when possible:

:set so=999

To restore normal behavior, enter:

:set so=0


If you change 'scrolloff' frequently, you may want to use a mapping. With the following in your vimrc, and assuming the default backslash leader key, you can type \zz to toggle the value of 'scrolloff' between 0 and 999:

:nnoremap <Leader>zz :let &scrolloff=999-&scrolloff<CR>

In an expression, &scrolloff refers to the value of the 'scrolloff' option. The :let command assigns a value to 'scrolloff'; that value is 999-0 if 'scrolloff' was 0, and is 999-999 if 'scrolloff' was 999.

Mapping wanted keys

An alternative to setting 'scrolloff' would be to remap some commands so that they vertically center the cursor, for example, when moving down or up with j and k. Remap the commands like this:

:nnoremap j jzz
:nnoremap k kzz

See also

References

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