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Using terminal Vim as an external editor

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Tip 1655 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created June 14, 2010 · complexity basic · author A generic person · version 7.0

This tip shows how to use Vim from within a pop-up gnome terminal as an alternative to using gvim. Because most graphical terminals accept a "command string" that is executed when they start running, the technique shown here is easily generalized to other terminal types.


Many applications can be configured with an external pop-up editor, but require "popping up" to be the editor's default mode (for example, File Roller, the GNOME desktop archive editor). This is a problem when you do not have gvim installed, or when you simply prefer to use "normal" Vim from within your preferred terminal (for example, gnome-terminal).

Create a file named vim-gnome with the following contents, and place it on your execution PATH (and use chmod +x vim-gnome to make vim-gnome executable):

gnome-terminal -e "vim $ARGS"

This wrapper handles passing extra arguments to Vim, so you can enter things like vim-gnome myfile.txt +42 to edit myfile.txt and jump to line 42.

Now you can use vim-gnome everywhere that you could have used gvim, or any other pop-up editor.

See alsoEdit


To have the gnome-terminal not close when exiting vim, try this:

gnome-terminal -x sh -c "vim $ARGS; $SHELL"

Now you should get a normal gnome-terminal when exiting vim with the :q command.

--VimRulz 23:54, June 27, 2011 (UTC)

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