Insert special • characters ◆
A while back, we wrote about how to insert non-printable and other special characters with
<ctrl-v> in insert mode. But Vim has another way called digraphs. (See
:help digraph). While in insert mode, you can insert special characters in Vim by pressing
<ctrl-k> followed by a two-character lookup code. For example,
<ctrl-k> ?2 will insert the approximately equal symbol:
When would you use this? Note-taking for one. Write any kind of prose in Vim and you are sure to come across a use for a character that’s not on your keyboard: Currency symbols, dashes, bullets, and much more. Here are some you may find helpful. Notice how each two-letter combination (“di-graph”) is designed to be memorable. Certainly much easier than remembering numeric codes.
Db◆ (diamond bullet)
'%ϴ (Greek theta)
Pd£ (British pound symbols)
Co© (copyright symbol)
Rg® (registered trademark symbol)
Eu€ (euro symbol)
-N– (en dash)
-M— (em dash)
Vim provides a list of all digraphs available on your system (compilation options can affect the list) just by using the
:dig command. In the screencast below, I show this mapping list and then insert a few characters with
I’d love to know what other people use this for and which characters are the ones they reach for often. Email me or share a comment on the post.
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