Sunday, April 04, 2010

MacVim is Plain Awesome

Every once in a while, dissatisfied with my current editor, I start scouring the web for an editor more Mac friendly. You know - an editor that respects conventional keyboard shortcuts, an editor that works predictably with the native copy-paste buffers, an editor that works with the mouse (even though I rarely use the mouse).

I want an editor that just feels right on the Mac.

And usually, after exploring popular editors like TextMate, TextWrangler, and jEdit, for the umpteenth time my dissatisfaction inevitably leads me back to Vim.

Not this time.

It's been about three months since I've been using MacVim, and I have two words for it - Awesome. Major kudos go out to Bjorne Winckler and the MacVim team for getting the Mac environment and releasing such a fantastic product.

What's so great about MacVim? Oh, only the following:

  • A full Vim implementation, that fully supports my .vimrc (including all my crazy plugins.)
  • Native support for tabs with conventional key-bindings (Cmd-T, Cmd-W, etc.) for managing and navigating tabs.
  • Supports the native OS X paste-buffer. You can select with the mouse, and copy it into the native paste-buffer with Cmd-C. You can also use Cmd-V to paste into the editor without losing formatting and without requiring "set paste".
  • "mvim filename" on the commandline spawns a new MacVim session (within an existing process, if any) in background mode. This helps you save significantly on superfluous terminal or screen sessions.
  • Supports the scroll-wheel and native pagination keys.
  • Shift-Cmd-F for fullscreen mode is the shyza.
  • The toolbar is simple and customizable, and the application menus simplify the process of spell-checking, code-folding, visual-diffing, etc.
  • The Print menu-item (or pressing Cmd-P) converts the current buffer to a PDF document, and brings it up in Preview.
  • It's pretty to look at and extremely usable.
Gratuitous screenshot:

You can get MacVim at Install it, toy with it, and tell me what you think.


  1. I share your MacVim love.

    What color theme is that?

  2. I have it installed and I use it from time to time, but I can't get used to it.

    I usually stick to vim + Terminal.

  3. I like hiding the toolbar and using the underwater theme:

    It's kind of lame that I'm linking to my own theme but in all honesty I haven't yet found one more relaxing to the eyes.

  4. Also, you forgot the light memory footprint despite the crazy number of IDE-like features you can load it up with. But I suppose that applies to Vim in general.