What’s My Line (Size)?

Vim allows lines of virtually unlimited lengths. You can have them either wrap onto multiple screen lines, so you can see them all without horizontal scrolling, or you can display the beginning of each line on one screen line and scroll to the right to see hidden parts.

If you prefer one line of text per screen line, turn off the wrap option:

set nowrap

With nowrap, Vim displays as many characters as the screen width permits. Think of the screen as a view port or window through which the wide line is viewed. For example, a 100-character line contains 20 characters too many for a screen that is 80 columns wide. Depending on what character is displayed in the screen’s first column, Vim determines which characters in the 100-character line are not displayed. For example, if the screen’s first column is the line’s 5th character, characters 1–4 are to the left of the visible screen and therefore invisible, that is, not displayed. Characters 5–84 are visible in the screen, and the remaining characters from 85–100 are to the right of the screen and are also invisible.

Vim manages how the line is displayed as you move left and right through the long line. Vim shifts the line left and right a minimum of sidescroll characters. You can set its value as follows:

set sidescroll=n

where n is the number of columns to scroll. We recommend setting sidescroll to 1, because modern PCs easily provide the processing power necessary to smoothly shift the screen one column at a time. ...

Get Learning the vi and Vim Editors, 7th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.