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Using GVim Easy (also known as evim)
Updated  2022-July-18

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2021-October-17  Published this evolving⁠[1] article.


Meta: Why I wrote this

I wrote this because I help a lot of non-technical people with their computers and I want them to be able to use a Vim-⁠encrypted file to store passwords and other secrets. My goal is to be able to point them to articles that will help them do that, for example Infinite Ink’s…



In this article, Vim means either terminal Vim (vim) or GUI Vim (gvim).


What is GVim Easy

In Vim, you are usually in one of the following modes.

  • normal mode (also known as command mode)

  • insert mode

  • replace mode

  • visual mode

  • command-line mode

For people who are new to Vim, this is confusing and often they can’t do anything because they are stuck in normal mode and don’t know any Vim commands.


GVim Easy is a variation of Vim that…

  • uses a GUI,

  • starts in insert mode and hides the other modes,

  • and makes a lot of commands available in menu-⁠bar menus and right-⁠click context menus.


Launching GVim Easy

On Windows, if you installed gvim with the Vim Installer, do this:

  • Double click the Windows Desktop icon labeled gVim Easy n.m (where n.m is something like 9.0)


On any system that has gvim installed, run either of these at a command-⁠line prompt:

  • evim

  • gvim -y


How to switch to the hidden command mode in GVim Easy

If you need to use a command — for example :X — that is not available in GVim Easy’s menus, you can switch to normal mode by doing one of the following.

  • From the Edit menu, choose Global Settings > Toggle Insert Mode.

  • Type Ctrl+l (which is equivalent to Ctrl+L).

  • Type Ctrl+o (which is equivalent to Ctrl+O).


  • Ctrl+o allows you to run one Vim command and then returns to insert mode.

  • In GVim Easy, you can sometimes get back to insert mode, by pressing the Esc key. This is the opposite of what the Esc key does in regular (not Easy) Vim.



To view the results of the above three :help commands, either follow the links (each of which go to vimhelp.org) or run these commands within Vim.


See also


1. Many Infinite Ink articles, including this one, are evergreen and regularly updated.

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