So I've been using Vim at school with a vimrc that seemed to be well set up, and learn few extra commands like set nu or syntax on.

Right now I'm trying I'm using Vi on my computer, and was struck by how bad Vi default configuration was, and am trying to set my vimrc but it's hell as well:

1 filetype indent on
2 set tabstop=4
3 set backspace=indent,eol,start
4 syntax enable
5 set nu

The backspace is unpractical (not deleting letters as it should naturally), my vimrc is displaying an error message when I start it up. Are the function summoned in vimrc wrong? Thanks.

Edit: Yup, nope, this irrational backspace crap is driving me crazy. I can't get a regular backspace behavior (deletes previous character, period). Set backspace and filetype indent don't work.

Edit#2: So Vim backspace still won't behave humanly, I'm still trying to figure the f how to implement a normal backspace (which removes previous characters, period)

  • 2
    What error message do you get? Where is that vimrc?
    – romainl
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 12:57
  • Hi, I'm on OSX. I get: /usr/share/vim/vimrc" 5L, 86C Error detected while processing /usr/share/vim/vim73/syntax/python.vim: line 86: E475: Invalid argument: pythonFunction line 87: E10: \ should be followed by /, ? or & line 93: E475: Invalid argument: pythonString Also trying to figure out how StackExchange formatting works.
    – yazze
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 13:05
  • 3
    – romainl
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 14:35
  • 2
    You have problems wit the syntax file for python in there. Could you give us the lines in that file? It might be that that match is not correctly written for Vim73
    – grochmal
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 0:12
  • how to find that file?
    – yazze
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


2 suggestions:

1) Are you trying to use Vi or Vim? On most systems 'vi' is just a link to vim, but it may not be the case on your system. Your description of the backspace makes it sound a little like you may be using vi instead of vim.

2) If you don't like the default vim options, you could look into NeoVim (https://neovim.io/). I believe one of their objectives is to improve on what options are enabled by default.

  • 1
    Thanks, will look it up, but I'm trying to understand vi/vim/vimrc and how to properly set it up on any computer.
    – yazze
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 13:23

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