Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Vimperator is a Firefox plugin which turns your browser into a kind of "Vi" for the web. If you like the Vi/Vim editor, you should give it a try. You can do most common tasks using the keyboard. After some experiment, I got addicted to it. Opening a link in the same tab, in a new tab, searching something with one of the installed search engines, filling forms, switching tabs... No need to reach for the mouse.

After installing it, the menu bar, navigation toolbar and bookmark toolbar will be hidden. This may be inconvenient at first, but you can display them again via ":set guioptions+=mTB". You can display the help screen at any time via the ":help" command.

Here is some of the commands I usually use :

  • Open a URL in the current tab : ":open ". Pressing tab while writing the url will show possible results.
  • Open a URL in a new tab : t
  • Open a link in the current tab : "f" followed by the number assigned to the link
  • Open a link in a new tab : "F" followed by the number assigned to the link
  • Click on a button, select a checkbox, move into a textarea... : "f" followed by the number assigned to the element
  • Close a tab : d
  • Open a previously closed tab : u
  • Use one of the search engines to search for some keywords : ":open ". The engine name is displayed in Firefox Search Engines dialog (:dialog searchengines). For example, ":open wikipedia something" will search for something on Wikipedia. To show the results in a new tab, use "t" or ":tabopen" instead of ":open"
  • Move around : h,j,k,l
  • Page Up/Down : Ctrl+f,Ctrl+b
  • Go to beginning/end of page : gg/G
  • Go forward/barckward in history : Ctrl+i/Ctrl+o
  • Go to next/previous tab : gt/gT
  • Reloading a page : r
  • Search in page : / followed by the keyword. After pressing enter, use "n"/"N" to go the next/previous occurence.
  • Copy the current URL in clipboard : y
  • Selecting text within a page : "i" to switch to CARET mode. This allows you to move at the beginning of the text you want to paste. "v" to switch to VISUAL mode to select the text, then "y" to yank it. "/" to search some text, before entering CARET mode is even faster.
  • Invoke gVim from a textarea : Ctrl+i. It helps if you have a long text to write.

There are other ways to browse efficiently. Check the help and find which one suits you best.