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3 min read from miscellaneous on 2019-07-12

For the past week I've been trying make everything in my laptop work with Vim key-bindings. So far I've gotten around 40% of what I use the most to work with Vim key-bindings and today we'll go through each of them.


This is obviously the easiest so lets start here. Oh my Zsh has a vi-mode plugin that makes using the shell much easier. You can go into normal mode by pressing ESC and from there you can use all the normal Vim keys to navigate.

For editing text, you can use Vim to get Vim bindings, shocking right?

For everything else, most TUIs like Weechat either have Vim bindings built in, or have plugins for them.


Finder has no options to change key-bindings, so you can just replace it entirely with ranger which is a terminal file manger with Vim bindings. You're going to see me replace many GUI applications for TUI applications so get used to it.

Apple Mail

Here's another one that we replace with a TUI. There are many good mail clients for the terminal, but one of my favourites is aerc which as Vim bindings build it. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to get Protonmail Bridge to work with it, so I still need to use Apple Mail ;(

Disclaimer: I'm a Patreon supporter for the aerc's author (Drew DeVault).


There's a few options with this one. You can either use ViTunes which is a TUI, or you can use something like itunes-cli which allows you to control iTunes from the terminal. Personally, I use itunes-cli because I find it easier.


There are quite a few Vim interfaces for Firefox, but the best (in my opinion) is tridactyl. It's incredibly powerful and comes with the ability to edit it's configuration in a tridactlyrc (just like Vim!). You can peek at my tridactylrc for a look at some of the options.

Everything Else

There's an application called vim-anywhere which opens up a vim buffer whenever invoked. However, I find this a bit too cumbersome to use. Instead I use Karabiner-Elements which is a low level macOS kernel extension that gives you a virtual keyboard you can heavily customize to your own liking.

Karabiner comes with a vi-mode modification. Once you've added and enabled it, you can "trigger" vi-mode by pressing simultaneously either the key D or S and then h/j/k/l or b/w to move around text. You have to keep your trigger key pressed while moving around. Same goes for visual mode but with V as the trigger key. Don't forget to set the simultaneous threshold to something between 200-300 for this to work better.