vimwiki: The reason, in due season

I promised I’d let on to why I’ve relied on vim all these years, and the time has finally come. As luck would have it, the only reason I put up with that cumbersome, unfriendly, cryptic and sadistic text editor is because of vimwiki.


I know, I’m a bit of a hypocrite for clinging to a particular text editor for years, all because of one silly plugin that it supports.

I can’t rationalize that, except to say that vimwiki has vastly simplified the task of managing The List — with a thousand program titles, each (supposedly O_o ) with a one-line synopsis and a link to a home page, plus some notes. I couldn’t imagine trying to handle that in a flat text file, or something like hnb. It would not function nearly as cleanly.

vimwiki as evolved over the years I have used it, and I’m comfortable with it in its current rendition. Press enter on a word to convert it to a link, press enter on a link to jump to its page. Press backspace to work your way back through the breadcrumb trail.

Master that — within the convolutions of vim, of course — and you’ve gotten everything that you need to keep hyperlinked text files organized.

vimwiki also builds calendars and tables, exports to different formats and handles some markdown-ish syntax, although it’s incredibly rare that I need those features.

vimwiki will require some settings in your .vimrc that might prove confusing; the conceallevel in particular might make URLs contract and that was irritating for the first few days. Over the years I’ve learned to live with that.

vimwiki is smart enough to carry a few housekeeping features too, though. It’s a simple three-key command to delete or rename a page, which are both crucial functions in my project. And it’s smart enough to riffle through every other page, and correct links therein.

I know it’s not much of an endorsement, but vimwiki is probably one of the few note-taking tools that I immediately embraced, as soon as I saw how easy and clean it worked. The fact that I was willing to overlook all the fatal eccentricities of vim should be an indicator of how good I think it is.

After years of dedication and service, at last, a well-deserved K.Mandla gold star for vimwiki: ⭐ 😉

One last note: This is the only vim plugin I’ll discuss, mostly because there are literally hundreds out there. Some are good and some are bad, but mostly you know what you need and like. There’s no need for me to traipse through each one. Go on your own little adventure. 😉

12 thoughts on “vimwiki: The reason, in due season

  1. blinkmemory

    Have you ever looked at vim-outliner? (

    Yes, it is still in vim, but everything is kept in a single file and I’m assuming similar functionality exists for other editors. In any case, since it is only a text file, it can be handled with whatever editor you like. vim-outliner is primarily for convenience, providing color, folding, and checkboxes. In fact, vim-outliner is the reason hnb and vim-wiki never made it into my toolkit.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      I remember seeing it a long time ago, and unless my mind is playing tricks on me, it might be what led me to vimwiki. I’ll take a look at it again, thanks! 😉

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  3. Theodore

    Good afternoon, K, I’ve found today a replacement that probably will fit my needs: didiwiki and its fork ciwiki. Works out of the box, its own cgi built in server, can configure email registration but login is not required, AFAIK no javascript, static pages, ONE css to configure everything, images, flash contents.
    Credits to the beloved father of the wikis, Ward Cunningham, ’cause I found it on his site list ( ).

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