Disclosure: Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Best Courses Guides

9 Best Vim Courses to Take in 2023

Here is a guide with the best courses to learn VIM (including free courses), a cross-platform versatile text editor for programmers.

In this guide, I’ve selected the best online courses, resources, and tutorials to learn Vim (or Vi improved). Most of the courses are free and interactive.

Vim is a highly-versatile text editor and language that developers learn to improve their productivity. How? By making writing and reading code less of a pain. By giving developers an ultra-efficient language that understands the needs of a programmer, developers can edit code nearly as fast as their brains think.

Here are my top picks. Click on one to skip to the course details:

Course Workload In Brief
1. vimtutor (Vim) 1–2 hours long Best introductory course for beginners
2. Editors – Vim (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 1 hour long Best for Vim’s philosophy and demonstration of Vim
3. Vim Tutorial for Beginners (freeCodeCamp) 1–2 hours long Best short video course
4. VimGenius (vimgenius.com) 2–4 hours long Best paired with vimtutor and it has intermediate courses too
5. VIM Adventures (vim-adventures.com) 10–12 hours long Best gamified course
6.  Interactive Vim tutorial (openvim.com) 1–2 hours long Best interactive course
7. Learning Vim (LinkedIn Learning) 1–2 hours long Best LinkedIn course with exercises
8. Learn Vim – Visual Studio Marketplace 1–3 hours long Best for VSCode users
9. Vim Masterclass (Udemy) 8 hours long Best comprehensive course with exercises

What is Vim?

Vim is a versatile text editor and language created by Bram Moolenaar 30 years ago as an improved version of vi. Vim is cross-platform — it comes preinstalled on Linux and Mac, and can be installed on Windows.

The reason behind why Vim has maintained a passionate following for decades is its extreme efficiency for developers. Often, programmers spend more time reading code and making changes here and there than writing long streams of code. But traditional text editors are more suited towards writing than reading.

Vim solves this problem by introducing modes. Keys behave differently depending on the mode you’re in. There’s a mode for navigation, insertion, selection, entering commands, and so on. Although this may sound complicated, you quickly reap the benefits of having dedicated modes once you get used to it.

Another big feature of Vim that makes it so efficient is that it doesn’t use the mouse. Every action is solely performed with the keyboard. You may think that this is counterintuitive towards productivity as you’d need to memorize dozens of macros, but it actually isn’t due to one special feature: composition.

Vim is a language. Each key can be composed with other keys in sequence to combine their actions together, leading you to typing what you think instead of thinking what to type. Vim is also smart. It understands words and more, so you can move from word to word instead of character to character as you did with the arrow keys.

It is due to these neat ideas that lots of tools support a Vim emulation mode (VSCode, JetBrains’ IDEs). Even if you don’t find the idea of using a terminal emulator pleasing, you can still carry over the Vim language to your preferred text editor! Additionally, Vim is very customizable — you can change its configuration settings and even install plugins that change Vim in a fundamental way.

Find your next course on Class Central.com

Best Courses Guides Methodology

I built this ranking following the now tried-and-tested methodology used in previous Best Courses Guides (you can find them all here). It involves a three-step process:

  1. Research: I started by leveraging Class Central’s database with 100K online courses and 200K+ reviews. Then, I made a preliminary selection of the courses by rating, reviews, and bookmarks.
  2. Evaluate: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner.
  3. Select: Well-made courses were picked if they presented valuable and engaging content and they have to fit in a set of criteria and be ranked accordingly: comprehensive curriculum, price, release date, ratings and enrollments.

Course Ranking Statistics

Here are some aggregate stats about the ranking:

  • All of the courses except for three in this ranking are free or free-to-audit.
  • All of the courses are beginner friendly.
  • The course with the highest amount of enrollments has around 25K learners.

Without further ado, let’s go through the top picks.

1. Vimtutor (Vim)

My #1 pick for the best course to learn Vim is the built-in interactive course, vimtutor.

vimtutor comes preinstalled on every installation of Vim, and hence is free. It’s an excellent introduction for beginners who want to get up and running with Vim without wasting too much time.

To access the course, if you’re in a Unix environment type vimtutor in your console. Or if you’re on Windows, there should be an entry in the start menu folder titled vimtutor once you’ve downloaded Vim.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll begin the course by learning to open Vim and move the cursor around using the hjkl keys. After inserting and deleting some text, you’ll save and exit Vim safely.

Navigating solely by the hjkl keys is slow, though. So you’ll one up your speed by learning to execute motions, like moving word by word or even deleting entire words and lines (don’t worry, you can undo and redo them).

You know how to write new code, but more often, you’ll paste or replace a wide selection of text. The next lesson teaches you exactly that, along with the find and replace tool, which is incredibly handy for changing repeated blocks of code.

Moving on, the course teaches you how to run shell commands within Vim, which can help you save code snippets in different files. You’ll also learn how to append text below or above your cursor, copy, and paste text — all of which are immense time-savers. Finally, you’ll find out how to configure the Vim startup script to your own preference and also learn to consult Vim’s help manual whenever you need a refresher.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–2 hours long and consists of 7 lessons. You’ll learn by completing the engaging exercises and taking notes of the commands.

Provider Vim
Level Beginner
Workload 1–2 hours total
Certificate None

Fun Facts

  • Vimtutor was originally written for Vi by Michael C. Pierce and Robert K. Ware, Colorado School of Mines using ideas supplied by Charles Smith, Colorado State University.
  • It was then modified for Vim by Bram Moolenaar, the creator of Vim.
  • Although the course may take an hour to complete, spending 30 mins a day practicing in vimtutor will help you immensely improve your muscle memory.

2. Editors – Vim (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

My second pick for the best Vim course is Editors (vim) by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Part of The Missing Semester Of Your CS Education course, this free course gives you a quick and concise introduction to Vim. The course doesn’t teach all of Vim’s functionality — you’ll only learn the basics and be shown a quick demonstration of Vim’s advanced features. Instead, you’ll focus on learning the philosophy behind Vim, giving you some background behind why Vim is the way it is.

No prior experience with Vim is needed to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

The course begins by introducing you to Vim’s philosophy — modal editing. As programmers spend a lot of time reading, navigating, and making minor edits here and there instead of writing long streams of text at once, Vim splits its operation into (mainly) three modes: Normal (for navigating), Insert (for editing), and Visual (for selecting). This ensures that each operation will be highly efficient as it is optimized for a specific task. Next, the course elaborates further on the optimizations Vim makes.

Vim’s interface is a programming language. You do not need to memorize tons of keystrokes. Instead, the few keystrokes you do need to remember can be composed together to form an action that tells the editor what to do, just like a programming language. You’ll learn the basics of Vim, from movement to selection to edits.

The course then moves on to a demonstration of Vim in action to see how amazing Vim can be for productivity. You’ll then learn how to customize Vim by changing the Vim config and extending Vim by installing essential Vim plugins. The course then ends by listing a few critical advanced Vim features, like search and replace macros and multiple windows.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1 hour long. You’ll learn by watching the lecture video and following along with the instructor as he demonstrates Vim. The course comes with exercises that’ll allow you to practice your Vim.

Institution Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Provider YouTube
Instructor Anish Athalye, Jon Gjengset, and Jose Javier Gonzalez Ortiz
Level Beginner
Workload 1 hour long
Views 313K
Likes 5.9K
Certificate None

Fun Facts

  • This lecture is from a larger series called The Missing Semester of Your CS Education. It’s an amazing series that aims to introduce computer science students to important concepts and tools that normally wouldn’t be covered in the typical CS syllabus.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

3. Vim Tutorial for Beginners (freeCodeCamp)

My third pick for the best Vim course is Vim Tutorial for Beginners by freeCodeCamp.

Vim Tutorial for Beginners teaches you the Vim coding editor from beginning to end, step-by-step. By the end of this free course, you’ll not only be familiar with Vim but you’ll also know what are some of the popular Vim plugins so that you can replace your current code editor without making any compromises!

No prerequisites are required to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

The course begins with a glimpse at how effective your workflow can be once you get used to Vim. If you weren’t as motivated before, now you would be!

Now, you’ll get into some basic commands, which involve moving around the file, switching into the different modes, and editing the text as you please. Then, you’ll look into some intermediate commands, like sweeping changes across the file with a few keystrokes or replacing the text within two brackets.

Macros and registers are advanced topics that power users will benefit from. You’ll learn how to save frequent sequences of keystrokes into one keypress and store phrases within multiple registers if you need to keep track of multiple at the same time.

Vim, in its default installation, is capable, but you’ll probably want to make it as up-to-date as other modern code editors. Tweaking Vim’s configuration file is an excellent start to customize Vim to your needs, but there is a more powerful option — plugins. You’ll wrap up the course by exploring some popular plugins that enable syntax highlighting and directory navigation, along with taking a look at neovim — an extensive Vim-based text editor made for Windows.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–2 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the video and following along the instructor as he goes through the Vim commands.

Institution freeCodeCamp
Provider YouTube
Instructor Florian Dedov
Level Beginners
Workload 1–2 hours total
Views 200K
Likes 6.3K
Certificate None

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

4. VimGenius (vimgenius.com)

VimGenius is a timed flashcard-styled game design to help you increase your speed and strengthen your muscle memory, thereby improving your Vim-writing skills.

For beginners, the free course pairs nicely with Vim’s built-in tutorial program, VimTutor. After completing a VimTutor exercise, you can use VimGenius to help you quickly cement what you’ve learned into memory.

For experienced folks, you can test your skills in some of the intermediate exercises VimGenius has that also include famous Vim plugins, like Rails Vim.

What You’ll Learn

Beginners will start the course by revising their Vim vocabulary in conjunction with vimtutor. You’ll revise the navigation and editing commands to get them drilled into your memory.

Those already experienced with Vim on the other hand can test their skills in vanilla Vim and other popular Vim plugins. There are lessons on Vim’s arglist functionality, Vim motions, Vim macros, Vim copy and paste, and Rails Vim plugin.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 2–4 hours long. You’ll learn by completing your sets of flashcards that’ll help you improve your mastery of the Vim language.

Institution VimGenius
Instructor Vic Ramon, Rye Mason
Level Beginner–Advanced
Workload 2–4 hours total
Certificate None

Fun Facts

  • Vic Ramon is the co-founder and VP Engineer of AdQuick, while Rye Mason is a UX design lead at HashiCorp.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

5. VIM Adventures (vim-adventures.com)

Want to learn Vim while having fun? Vim Adventures has got you covered!

This paid puzzle game inspired by Zelda will help you learn and practice Vim’s keyboard shortcuts through fun and engaging gameplay. It’s an easy way to learn Vim without the steep learning curve.

No prior knowledge of Vim is required to play this game.

What You’ll Learn

The game consists of 13 levels.

In the first level, Through the Maze, you’ll learn how to navigate the world using the h j k l keys. Then, in The Prophecy, you’ll learn how to jump between the front and back of words, traversing the world even simpler.

Into the Darkness, Replacing Bad, and Deleting Your Way teach you how to replace or delete characters and words by saving the world from evil red letters plaguing the land. Afterward, Flipping Sides and Inline Jumpin’ will have you traversing from one whole line to another, along with searching for phrases that you can move between once you’ve learned the # and n keys in Mind the GAP.

Prime Numbers dives into the concept of motions, where you can specify how many times you want an action to be repeated. Cut n’ Paste, meanwhile, eases your life by introducing you to yanking, pasting, and registers. Input Buffer then, as the level name states, trains you on using buffers as well as a handy look at editing text.

The final levels of the game, Bug Bash and Lorem Ipsum, have you navigating a treacherous maze populated by bugs that you’ll have to squash with your Vim commands.

How You’ll Learn

This game is 10–12 hours long and consists of 14 levels. The first three levels are free, whereas the remaining levels are paid. You’ll learn by playing and completing the game.

Provider vim-adventures.com
Instructor Doron Linder
Level Beginner
Workload 10–12 hours total
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

6. Interactive Vim tutorial (openvim.com)

OpenVim is a short web-based interactive tutorial that allows people quickly have a taste of what kind of an editor Vim is. The free course will help you grasp the basics of Vim in no time through hands-on practice.

No prerequisites are required to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

The course begins with a brief introduction to Vim. Next, you’ll learn that Vim consists of two modes: insert and normal. Then, you’ll learn how to navigate in normal mode using only your keys. You’ll also understand how to insert text so that you can make changes to the code.

Vim is an intelligent editor. You can navigate a file by finding a character in the same line or searching for a phrase. You’ll learn how to do all these essential navigation tasks and compose a series of keypresses together that’ll help you tell Vim precisely what you want to do. Finally, you’ll end the course by looking into another mode called visual mode that allows you to select phrases.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–2 hours long. You’ll learn by going through the interactive tutorials, helping you learn by doing. You’ll also be able to practice what you’ve learned in the practice section of the course.

Institution openvim.com
Instructor Henrik Huttunen
Level Beginner
Workload 1–2 hours total
Certificate None

Fun Facts

  • OpenVim was initially created and published in 2011.
  • OpenVim is based on a custom engine that interprets vim commands.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

7. Learning Vim (LinkedIn Learning)

This LinkedIn Learning course with free one-month trial is designed to help Vim newbies  become more efficient when editing text files, code and configuration files.

The course starts with the basics like creating files, navigating, and changing text, and moves through with some more advanced features like using registers, marks, and configuration files. You’ll also be presented with real-world examples of how Vim is used in the day-to-day workflow of a developer.

No prior experience with Vim is required to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

The course begins by going through the basics of Vim — creating files, saving, and quitting. You’ll then learn how to move around in Vim with the keys, use regex to find a phrase within a text file, and move the screen upwards or downwards.

Next, you’ll learn how to change the text by looking at the different kinds of keys. Then, you’ll learn how to delete or replace words or entire lines and copy and paste. You’ll then see how visual selection is done in Vim and also take a peek at how registers work.

The course then discusses a few advanced Vim commands. For example, marks allow you to record positions within the file that you can jump between, making navigation a breeze. You’ll learn that along with buffers that hold text read from a file. Lastly, you’ll explore the Vim configuration file and see what changes suit your way of work.

The course ends by giving a demonstration of the average day-to-day Vim workflow. After that, you’ll learn multiple handy commands, like the diff mode, zip files, and external commands.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–2 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos. The course provides exercise files which help you put your Vim skills into practice.

Provider LinkedIn Learning
Instructor Miki Tebeka
Level Beginner
Workload 1–2 hours total
Enrollments 14K
Likes 496
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • Miki Tebeka is the CEO at 353Solutions, a professional consulting service. He is proficient in multiple programming languages like Python, Go, C++, JavaScript, and Clojure. More importantly, he also has 20+ years of experience with Vim.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

8. Learn Vim – Visual Studio Marketplace

This pick is a bit non-traditional, but it is great for those already familiar with Visual Studio but do not want or are not ready to switch over to a command-line editor. You’ll retain the benefits of having a feature-rich IDE while reaping the sweet, sweet rewards of an efficient navigation and text-editing system.

In this free course you’ll learn all about Vim within the comforts of VSCode. You’ll need to install the vscodevim plugin to do the course. Do note that the plugin is an emulation of Vim. If you want an actual embedded instance of Vim running within VSCode, the best way to do that is by installing the VSCode Neovim plugin instead. Both Vim plugins work for the purpose of the course.

No experience with Vim is required to take the course.

What You’ll Learn

The course begins with baby steps. You’ll learn how to move around the text file with the hjkl keys, before taking big steps by performing motions like moving from word to word. Then, you’ll explore the editing magic of Vim by combining operators or numbers with motions, speeding up your workflow by lots!

In fact, almost every key or action can be composed together to form one all-powerful action. You’ll put this lesson to heart by diving deeper into Vim’s features like inserting and selecting text. Vim also provides an ultra-handy search feature, allowing you to get specific keywords and move back and forth between them.

Finally, the course ends by introducing you to a few popular Vim plugins, like surroundings, multiple cursors, and easymotion.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–3 hours long. You’ll learn by reading through the course articles (which are bursting with the author’s personality) and completing the fun exercises (also flooded with personality).

Provider Visual Studio Code
Instructo Jaime González García
Level Beginner
Workload 1–3 hours total
Installs 63K
Rating 5.0 / 5.0 (34)
Certificate Free

Fun Facts

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

9. Vim Masterclass (Udemy)

Vim Masterclass is an excellent paid course that covers the ins-and-outs of Vim through hands-on exercises.

Not only will you get you up to speed with the basics of Vim as fast as possible (like navigation and editing text), but you’ll also learn some advanced tips that experts use in their daily workflows, like macros, custom shortcuts, and more.

This course has no prior requirements.

What You’ll Learn

The course starts right off with the Vim essentials. You’ll learn about the different modes available in Vim as well as the navigation and text-editing commands needed to do actual programming.

Next, you’ll learn how to think in Vim. Instead of memorizing dozens of commands, you’ll understand the Vim vocabulary and patterns such that you’ll be able to do anything — you’ll formulate the commands yourself! From there, the course will make you self-sufficient by teaching you how to use Vim’s built-in help system.

Transforming and substituting text is a huge part of Vim and what makes it extremely efficient over the traditional point-and-drag method. You’ll start out by making some simple replacements and then you’ll move on to perform global substitutions on many files at once. Next, you’ll learn about some powerful and advanced Vim features such as text objects and macros. Along the way you’ll learn about Vim settings and how to customize them to work best for your particular situation.

Finally, you’ll be exposed to several different techniques that make editing and viewing multiple files at once easy before wrapping up the course by discussing visual user interfaces versions of Vim, and how to make the most out of them.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 8 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos, and completing the fun exercises that’ll test your Vim navigation and text-editing skills. The exercises come with walkthrough video solutions.

The Q&A section of this course is active, so you can be sure that any questions you have about Vim will be answered within a few days by either the instructor or his assistants.

Provider Udemy
Instructor Jason Cannon
Level Beginner
Workload 8 hours total
Enrollments 27K
Rating 4.7 / 5.0 (4.3K)
Certificate Paid

Fun Facts

  • Jason is a Linux wizard — he has professional experience with more than 6 Linux distributions like CentOS, RedHat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu. He’s also a technical consultant and independent contractor for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.
  • Jason is the author of the books “Linux for Beginners” and “Command Line Kung Fu.”

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

Elham Nazif Profile Image

Elham Nazif

Part-time content writer, full-time computer science student.

Comments 0

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. All comments go through moderation, so your comment won't display immediately.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Browse our catalog

Discover thousands of free online courses from top universities around the world like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.

Browse all subjects