Working with Vim

This post is going to share a quick tip of using the vim editor with orca desktop screen-reader or any of the console screen-readers such as Fenrir and Speakup.

The appeal of vi/vim has to do with its heavy use of the keyboard: it is possible to edit a document without touching the arrow keys for navigation. Vi along with vim1take advantage of modes: it has the Insert Mode, where you type in text; and the command mode, where you issue commands.

In the command mode, you can press the j, k, l and h keys to move down, up, right and left directions respectively.

The only drawback when using a screen-reader is that each time you try to move in any direction, your screen-reader announces the character or line followed by a number.

To disable that behaviour, you need to enter this command into the Ex Mode.

You get into the Ex Mode by pressing the colon key. Once the colon key is pressed, just type in the following set noruler.

However, the only limitation to using the Ex mode is that once you quit vim, your setting is gone.

So to save this command permanently, enter the command into the ~/.vimrc file.

If the file is not in your home directory, just create it, or do this:

echo 'set noruler' >> ~/.vimrc

Note that I used >> for appending the string instead of the single right angle bracket just to be safe.

Great luck in your text-processing exercise!

Footnotes:

1

Throughout this post, I use the two
terms interchangeably. Vi is the predecessor to vim.