When I use sublime text I find that it starts searching every time I press a key in the search, i.e. every time I add another letter to the searchsublime performs the search and shows a match with all that I typed.

In vim once I type / and input a search I need to press Enter for the search to be performed.

Is there a way to have vim with a similar behavior to sublime?

  • You can press / in normal mode and then type the text/pattern to search. You want more simplified than this?
    – SibiCoder
    Jun 26, 2016 at 14:14
  • 6
    You mean, autocompletion? Please describe the behavior, don't assume Vim users know about Sublime-anything :)
    – VanLaser
    Jun 26, 2016 at 14:28
  • Yes, immediately when I pressed key on keyboard make search, but keep my cursor in command panel and when I push ENTER move cursor into text area Jun 26, 2016 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


If you want to highlight matches as you search, you need to set incsearch. Read :help 'incsearch' for full details.

incsearch will scroll to the first match. Pressing <esc> while searching will cancel and restore the scroll position. Pressing <enter> will move the cursor to the first match.

You can change the incremental search highlight using the IncSearch highlight group.

There is also a plugin called incsearch.vim that will highlight all matches as you type, in addition to other features.

  • 2
    Also, there is the incsearch plugin. One of my absolute favorites, absolutely recommend it!
    – DJMcMayhem
    Jun 27, 2016 at 4:44
  • @DJMcMayhem Thanks, that does look like a great plugin! I updated the answer with a link.
    – Tommy A
    Jun 27, 2016 at 16:06
  • Should you not also include this link?
    – Tumbler41
    Jun 27, 2016 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Tumbler41 Nah. vim.org's script listings tend to be less informative if the plugin is hosted on GitHub. Besides, the more informative GitHub page has a link to vim.org. With the inability to format text or add images, linking to vim.org/scripts is a good way to not impress someone relatively new to Vim, IMO.
    – Tommy A
    Jun 27, 2016 at 18:28

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