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How To Install Vim Text Editor on Debian 12

Install Vim Text Editor on Debian 12

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Vim Text Editor on Debian 12. If you’re looking to supercharge your text editing skills on Debian Linux, you won’t want to miss out on learning how to install Vim, the legendary text editor. Discover the step-by-step guide in this informative article, and unlock the potential of Vim to streamline your coding and text-editing tasks. Don’t wait, dive into the world of Vim on Debian Linux and take your productivity to the next level!

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Vim Text Editor on a Debian 12 (Bookworm).


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Debian 12 (Bookworm).
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • SSH access to the server (or just open Terminal if you’re on a desktop).
  • An active internet connection. You’ll need an internet connection to download the necessary packages and dependencies for Vim Text Editor.
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Install Vim Text Editor on Debian 12 Bookworm

Step 1. Before we install any software, it’s important to make sure your system is up to date by running the following apt commands in the terminal:

sudo apt update

This command will refresh the repository, allowing you to install the latest versions of software packages.

Step 2. Installing Vim on Debian 12.

Now, let’s install Vim using the following command:

sudo apt install vim

Let’s double-check that Vim is installed correctly and view its version:

vim --version

This command not only confirms the installation but also provides a wealth of information about Vim’s features and build options. Press Esc, then :q and Enter to exit Vim.

Step 3. Customizing Vim.

A. Vim Configuration File

1. Location of the Configuration File

Vim’s configuration is stored in a .vimrc file located in your home directory. Let’s open it for editing:

vim ~/.vimrc

This command opens Vim with your configuration file, or if it doesn’t exist, it creates a new one.

2. Editing the Configuration File

Now that you’re inside Vim, you can customize it to suit your needs. Below, we’ll explore some popular customizations:

B. Installing Vim Plugins

1. Using Vim-Plug for Plugin Management

Vim-Plug is a fantastic plugin manager for Vim. Add the following lines to your .vimrc file to set it up:

" Vim-Plug installation
call plug#begin('~/.vim/plugged')
" Add your plugins here
call plug#end()

These lines initialize Vim-Plug and designate a directory where plugins will be installed.

2. Adding Popular Plugins

You can now specify plugins to be installed via Vim-Plug. For example, let’s add the popular vim-airline plugin for a sleek status line:

" Example plugin installation
call plug#begin('~/.vim/plugged')
Plug 'vim-airline/vim-airline'
" Add more plugins here
call plug#end()

With this configuration, Vim-Plug will automatically download and install the specified plugins the next time you open Vim.

C. Themes and Colorschemes

1. Installing Themes

Enhance your Vim aesthetics by installing themes. Numerous themes are available for Vim, each offering a unique visual experience. You can find themes on GitHub or popular Vim plugin websites.

2. Setting Colorschemes

To apply a colorscheme in Vim, add the following line to your .vimrc file, replacing <colorscheme_name> with the name of your chosen colorscheme:

" Set colorscheme
colorscheme <colorscheme_name>

Step 4. Vim Tips and Tricks.

A. Basic Vim Commands

Mastering Vim starts with understanding its fundamental commands for text manipulation:

1. Inserting and Editing Text

In Vim, you have two modes: insert mode for typing and normal mode for text manipulation. Here are some essential commands:

  • To enter insert mode, press i (short for insert). You can now type and edit text as you would in a regular text editor.
  • To return to normal mode, press Esc (Escape). In normal mode, you can navigate and execute commands.

2. Navigating Within a File.

Efficiently moving through your text is crucial. Use these commands:

  • To navigate character by character, use the arrow keys or h (left), j (down), k (up), and l (right).
  • For quicker navigation, use w (forward word), b (backward word), 0 (start of the line), and $ (end of the line).

3. Saving and Quitting Vim.

To save your changes and exit Vim, use the following commands:

  • In normal mode, :w followed by Enter saves the file.
  • :q followed by Enter quits Vim.
  • :wq or ZZ saves and quits in one command.

B. Advanced Vim Techniques

1. Search and Replace

Vim’s search and replace capabilities are incredibly powerful:

  • In normal mode, / followed by your search term and Enter initiates a forward search.
  • Use n to jump to the next match, and N to go to the previous one.
  • To replace text, :%s/old_text/new_text/g replaces all occurrences of old_text with new_text in the entire document.

2. Splitting and Resizing Windows

Vim can split your screen into multiple windows for multitasking:

  • To split horizontally, press :split or Ctrl-w followed by s.
  • For vertical splits, use :vsplit or Ctrl-w followed by v.
  • To resize a window, use Ctrl-w followed by + (increase height) or - (decrease height).

3. Macros and Automation

Vim allows you to record and play back sequences of commands:

  • To start recording a macro, press q followed by a letter (e.g., qa).
  • Execute your desired commands.
  • To stop recording, press q again.
  • To replay the macro, type @a, where a is the letter you used to record the macro.

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Vim. Thanks for using this tutorial to install the latest version of the Vim Text Editor on Debian 12 Bookworm. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official Vim website.

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r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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