3

In vi it's very helpful to be able to place the cursor on a '(' or '{' or '[' character, press the '%' key, and move to the matching ')', '}', or ']'.

But this does not work for me with angle brackets ( '<' and '>' ), even though page 130 of my "Learning the vi Editor" O'Reilly book (6th edition) says it should! I am using Centos 7.2 and my 'vi' editor is actually vim 7.4.160.

Is this a version-specific thing? Or is there some switch that I can set/clear to make this work? It'd be handy for trying to make sense of HTML and Javascript.

  • What is 'matchpairs' set to? You can find out by doing: :verbose set matchpairs?. See :h 'matchpairs' for more information – Peter Rincker Sep 28 '16 at 17:09
  • When I try that I see: " matchpairs=(:),{:},[:] ", which looks promising. How can I alter this? – Clovis_Sangrail Sep 28 '16 at 17:15
7

'matchpairs' controls what characters form pairs which % will work upon. You can add angle brackets by doing the following command as suggested by :h 'matchpairs':

:set matchpairs+=<:>

Since 'matchpairs' is a buffer local setting it would be best do this for the filetype you want. An example of for cpp filetype which can be added to your vimrc file:

augroup AngleBrackets
    autocmd!
    autocmd FileType cpp set matchpairs+=<:>;
augroup END

However my preferred method of setting filetype specific options is to use the after-directory. Add the following to ~/.vim/after/ftplugin/cpp.vim:

set matchpairs+=<:>

Note: These examples use cpp as the filetype. You can use a different filetype to fit your needs.

If you truly want to make this a global change no matter the filetype add the following to your vimrc file:

setglobal matchpairs+=<:>

For more help see:

:h 'matchpairs'
:h local-options
:h 'filetype'
:h :autocmd
:h after-directory
:h setglobal
  • Thanks again. It looks like my 'vi' has a hard time displaying help text, I will see if I can improve that. – Clovis_Sangrail Sep 28 '16 at 17:28

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