Barbarian Meets Coding


Boost Your Coding Fu With VSCode and Vim
Chapter 17.Table of ContentsCheatsheet

Moving Even Faster with Vim Surround and EasyMotion

Vim-sneak and vim-EasyMotion are a couple of Vim plugins that supercharge how fast you can move in Vim.


Vim-sneak is a middle ground between character search (inside a line) and pattern search (inside a file):

  • Type s{char}{char} and the cursor flies to the first occurrence of that two character sequence.
  • From then on type ; for the next occurrence, or , for the previous one.
  • S{char}{char} works in a similar fashion but backwards.

Where vim-surround extended Vim’s secret language with an operator, vim-sneak does the same but with a motion: the sneak motion. As such, you can use it in combination with other operators:

  • Type {operator}z{char}{char} and the operator will be applied over the text traversed by the sneak motion.


Vim-EasyMotion tries to simplify the use of motions in Vim by removing the need for counts. Instead of looking at a piece of code, counting in your head and using either of these combinations to perform some action:


or move around:


when you trigger an motion with EasyMotion, it labels the possible targets in the whole document with a key combination that is shown in an overlay (over the text in question). Type that key combination, and you’re teleported to that location at once.

For instance, type <leader><leader>w and EasyMotion will label the beginning of all words ahead of you like so:

Moving to the beginning of words in Easy motion

This is what happens when you trigger a motion with EasyMotion! :O

In the example of the image, typing the letter l would make your cursor jump to the FactionShipModifiers interface, while typing p would send you to the Energy property of that interface.

Or you could type <leader><leader>f' and EasyMotion will label all occurrences of the ' character in the current and subsequent lines. Pretty nifty, isn’t it?

All the motions provided by vim-EasyMotion are namespaced by <leader><leader>, and they use key bindings whose meaning is related to the core Vim motions:

command move to…
<leader><leader>w start of words
<leader><leader>b start of words backwards
<leader><leader>bdw start of words everywhere. The bd stands for bidirectional
<leader><leader>e end of words
<leader><leader>ge end of words backwards
<leader><leader>bdw end of words everywhere
<leader><leader>j beginning of lines
<leader><leader>k beginning of lines backwards
<leader><leader>f{char} find character
<leader><leader>F{char} find character backwards
<leader><leader>t{char} until character
<leader><leader>T{char} until character backwards
<leader><leader>s{char} search character everywhere

Jaime González García

Written by Jaime González García , Dad, Husband, Front-end software engineer, UX designer, amateur pixel artist, tinkerer and master of the arcane arts. You should follow him on Twitter where he shares useful stuff! (and is funny too).Jaime González García