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11.3 Online Help and Other Documentation

vim comes with extensive and comprehensive online help. This help is comprised of over 50 ASCII text files, totalling almost 25,500 lines of text!

The online help is hypertextual in nature; you use the tag commands ^] and ^T to follow a reference and to go back to a previous position. If you have a color display, using the help with syntax coloring is particularly pleasant and effective.

The hypertext format is unique to vim ; however the doc directory contains a Makefile and awk scripts that convert the files into HTML for perusal with a Web browser. (The html display mode in elvis works just fine. :-)) The point to start from would be help.html , generated from help.txt , the starting point for the online help.

Also included, of course, is a UNIX man page for vim .

To start the help system, give the :help command. This splits the screen. With no arguments, vim displays the help.txt file. With an argument to :help , vim does its best to find the help on that topic. In our experience, it does an excellent job. (This facility seems to be built on top of the tags mechanism, which has been applied to the text of the help files.)


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