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Recipe 6.10. Creating Autotext with Vim's Abbreviations

6.10.1 Problem

You do a lot of repetitious typing, such as copyright statements, code comments, signatures, and so forth, and you would like some kind of auto-text feature.

6.10.2 Solution

Use Vim's abbreviations feature. Abbreviations are created in Normal mode:

:ab th This is an example of a Vim abbreviation.

To use the abbreviation, switch to Insert mode and type th, followed by any whitespace above (space, tab, or carriage return).

To see all of your abbreviations, type:


To remove an abbreviation, use:

:unabbreviate th

To delete all abbreviations, use:


Like everything else in Vim, abbreviations can be preserved forever in ~/.vimrc.

6.10.3 Discussion

You can use the abbreviation as an automatic spelling-fixer (like Recipe 6.6). Just define your common misspellings as abbrevations. This trick works best for typos (teh for the, for instance).

6.10.4 See Also

  • Vim's online help (:help map.txt)

  • Recipe 6.12

  • Chapter 24 of Vi IMproved—Vim

  • Chapter 7 of Learning the vi Editor

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