:best of Vim

Showcasing the top Vim plugins, tips and tricks.

What is Vim?

Vim is a text editor for programmers, power users & command-line junkies.

What is :best of Vim?

:best of Vim showcases the best plugins, extensions & tips for making the most of Vim.

It was built for NoVIMber 2011.

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Trailing Whitespace

Some of us hate trailing whitespace in our files. Here are some tips to deal with it.

Find it

Add this to your .vimrc:

match ErrorMsg '\s\+$'

...and trailing whitespace will be highlighted automatically, with the same syntax highlighting as an error.

Delete it

Add this to your .vimrc:

nnoremap <Leader>rtw :%s/\s\+$//e<CR>

...and <Leader>rtw will remove trailing whitespace. (You can replace rtw with anything you want. Remove Trailing Whitespace seems easy to remember.)

See :help <Leader> for more.

Kill it

The mapping above can be turned into a function that automatically kills trailing whitespace when Vim writes. Redefine it by adding this to your .vimrc:

" Removes trailing spaces
function! TrimWhiteSpace()

nnoremap <silent> <Leader>rts :call TrimWhiteSpace()<CR>

Then you can add on-write triggers that call that function. Again, in your .vimrc:

autocmd FileWritePre    * :call TrimWhiteSpace()
autocmd FileAppendPre   * :call TrimWhiteSpace()
autocmd FilterWritePre  * :call TrimWhiteSpace()
autocmd BufWritePre     * :call TrimWhiteSpace()

You can also enable that mapping on a per-filetype basis with:

autocmd FileType python,java autocmd FileWritePre    * :call TrimWhiteSpace()
autocmd FileType python,java autocmd FileAppendPre   * :call TrimWhiteSpace()
autocmd FileType python,java autocmd FilterWritePre  * :call TrimWhiteSpace()
autocmd FileType python,java autocmd BufWritePre     * :call TrimWhiteSpace()

(Thanks to @mklappstuhl for the suggestion.)