VI Emulation possible? (Solved!!)

UPDATE: Hi folks, well it appears that there have been numerous efforts to bring VI key bindings to the MAC OS. There is a project called VI Input Manager which does this for any Cacoa application - including Scrivener of course!!! The catch is that with Leopard apple is starting to move away from Input Managers so the install instructions need to be modified so that everything is installed as root so instead of using ~/Library as a user the files need to be installed in /Library.


R Haynes

Hi folks, well it appears that Vi emulation is not currently possible inside of Scrivener but it would be great!

Vi is one of the most powerful editors available. It would be a tremendous asset to the current editor windows and full screen mode!

Any chance?

R Haynes

Ummm… why?

What does vi do that the current TextEdit/Scrivener feature set doesn’t, and how are those added features relevant to writing projects? (As opposed to, say, programming.)



What do you mean by vi emulation exactly? Could you explain further? Scrivener is a rich text editor whereas I believe vi is a plain text one; also, Scrivener’s rich text system is based on that of TextEdit (the built-in OS X text system), so it can’t really be a vi-style editor.

Thanks and all the best,

I assume he is referring to operating in ‘command mode’.

You hit escape, and then every key you press becomes a command key (eg. delete characters, delete last word, shift to next paragraph, delete next paragraph, etc.). Only when you hit a or i does it re-enter ‘insertion mode’ and the keys you press insert text as normal again.

To be honest, I can’t see what benefit it would give though. It would be a lot of implementation work, and something that would confuse and bewilder the vast majority of potential users. And I suspect very few users would actually want the feature switched on: they would almost definitely need to have done programming at a university, and then they would want to use it for writing.

I fit the first two of those criteria, but not the third :slight_smile: When I am writing a novel, the last thing I want to worry about is whether I am in insertion mode, or whether the next word I type will delete the previous paragraph.


Hi, thanks for the responses. One of the posters hit the nail on the head - a lot of people coming from a Unix background would know Vi and the power is in the command mode, the ability to quickly move around the text window (no fumbling for the darn up,down, left, right arrows), incredibly powerful search and replace features etc - never use the mouse and menus again, write more, more quickly! I am not suggesting Vi should be the default mode but I have seen several editors offer “Vi emulation” which allows a user to turn on the feature. In fact there is a project called viemu ( which provides vi emulation for word and various other pieces of software. I have no idea what is involved to “add-in” vi emulation but it certainly be a huge draw from the large number of unix users who are discovering the appeal of the mac os - like me! The licensing of vi may make it possible to bootstrap from their code quite easily (for you - not me!).

Thanks for your efforts,
R Haynes

Are you familiar with the Default Mac OS X System Key Bindings? Note the similarities with emacs’ keybindings. I doubt that vim’s UI would be an improvement over what is already available in OS X’s text system.

Hi, thanks for the list of text bindings - I will have to spend some time with it and see how it works for me.

R Haynes