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VimTeX

VimTeX is a modern Vim and Neovim filetype and syntax plugin for LaTeX files.

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Table of contents

Requirements

VimTeX requires Vim version 8.0.1453 or Neovim version 0.4.3. The requirements were updated in July 2020 after the release of VimTeX 1.0. If you are stuck on older versions of Vim or Neovim, then you should not use the most recent version of VimTeX, but instead remain at the v1.0 tag.

Some features require external tools. For example, the default compiler backend relies on latexmk. Users are encouraged to read the requirements section in the documentation (:h vimtex-requirements).

Installation

If you use vim-plug or packer.nvim, then add one of the following lines to your vimrc file, correspondingly:

" vim-plug
Plug 'lervag/vimtex'

" packer.nvim
use 'lervag/vimtex'

Or use some other plugin manager:

If you use the new package feature in Vim, please note the following:

  • Make sure to read and understand the package feature: :help package!
  • Use the /pack/foo/start subdirectory to make sure the filetype plugin is automatically loaded for the tex filetypes.
  • Helptags are not generated automatically. Run :helptags to generate them.
  • Please note that by default Vim puts custom /start/ plugin directories at the end of the &runtimepath. This means the built in filetype plugin is loaded, which prevents VimTeX from loading. See #1413 for two suggested solutions to this. To see which scripts are loaded and in which order, use :scriptnames.
  • For more information on how to use the Vim native package solution, see here and here.

Configuration

After installing VimTeX, you should edit your .vimrc file or init.vim file to configure VimTeX to your liking. Users should read the documentation to learn the various configuration possibilities, but the below is a simple overview of some of the main aspects.

" This is necessary for VimTeX to load properly. The "indent" is optional.
" Note that most plugin managers will do this automatically.
filetype plugin indent on

" This enables Vim's and neovim's syntax-related features. Without this, some
" VimTeX features will not work (see ":help vimtex-requirements" for more
" info).
syntax enable

" Viewer options: One may configure the viewer either by specifying a built-in
" viewer method:
let g:vimtex_view_method = 'zathura'

" Or with a generic interface:
let g:vimtex_view_general_viewer = 'okular'
let g:vimtex_view_general_options = '--unique file:@pdf\#src:@[email protected]'

" VimTeX uses latexmk as the default compiler backend. If you use it, which is
" strongly recommended, you probably don't need to configure anything. If you
" want another compiler backend, you can change it as follows. The list of
" supported backends and further explanation is provided in the documentation,
" see ":help vimtex-compiler".
let g:vimtex_compiler_method = 'latexrun'

" Most VimTeX mappings rely on localleader and this can be changed with the
" following line. The default is usually fine and is the symbol "\".
let maplocalleader = ","

Note: If the compiler or the viewer doesn't start properly, one may type <localleader>li to view the system commands that were executed to start them. To inspect the compiler output, use <localleader>lo.

Quick Start

The following video shows how to use VimTeX's main features (credits: @DustyTopology from #1946). The example LaTeX file used in the video is available under test/example-quick-start/main.tex and it may be instructive to copy the file and play with it to learn some of these basic functions.

https://user-images.githubusercontent.com/66584581/119213849-1b7d4080-ba77-11eb-8a31-7ff7b9a4a020.mp4

Both new and experienced users are also encouraged to read the third-party article Getting started with the VimTeX plugin. The article covers VimTeX's core features and contains plenty of examples and high-resolution animations intended to help new users ease into working with the plugin.

Users are of course strongly encouraged to read the documentation, at least the introduction, to learn about the different features and possibilities provided by VimTeX (see :h vimtex). Advanced users and potential developers may also be interested in reading the supplementary documents:

Screenshots and GIFs

Here is an example of the syntax highlighting provided by VimTeX. The conceal feature is active on the right-hand side split. The example is made by @DustyTopology with the vim-colors-xcode colorscheme with some minor adjustments described here.

Syntax example

Additionally, you can find animated demonstrations of VimTeX's core motions, text-editing commands, and text objects in the file VISUALS.md.

Features

Below is a list of features offered by VimTeX. The features are accessible as both commands and mappings. The mappings generally start with <localleader>l, but if desired one can disable default mappings to define custom mappings. Nearly all features are enabled by default, but each feature may be disabled if desired. The two exceptions are code folding and formating, which are disabled by default and must be manually enabled.

  • Document compilation with latexmk, latexrun, tectonic, or arara
  • LaTeX log parsing for quickfix entries using
  • Compilation of selected part of document
  • Support for several PDF viewers with forward search
  • Completion of
    • citations
    • labels
    • commands
    • file names for figures, input/include, includepdf, includestandalone
    • glossary entries
    • package and documentclass names based on available .sty and .cls files
  • Document navigation through
    • table of contents
    • table of labels
    • proper settings for 'include', 'includexpr', 'suffixesadd' and 'define', which among other things
      • allow :h include-search and :h definition-search
      • give enhanced gf command
  • Easy access to (online) documentation of packages
  • Word count (through texcount)
  • Motions
    • Move between section boundaries with [[, [], ][, and ]]
    • Move between environment boundaries with [m, [M, ]m, and ]M
    • Move between math environment boundaries with [n, [N, ]n, and ]N
    • Move between frame environment boundaries with [r, [R, ]r, and ]R
    • Move between comment boundaries with [* and ]*
    • Move between matching delimiters with %
  • Text objects
    • ic ac Commands
    • id ad Delimiters
    • ie ae LaTeX environments
    • i$ a$ Math environments
    • iP aP Sections
    • im am Items
  • Other mappings
    • Delete the surrounding command, environment or delimiter with dsc/dse/ds$/dsd
    • Change the surrounding command, environment or delimiter with csc/cse/cs$/csd
    • Toggle starred command or environment with tsc/tse
    • Toggle inline and displaymath with ts$
    • Toggle between e.g. () and \left(\right) with tsd
    • Toggle (inline) fractions with tsf
    • Close the current environment/delimiter in insert mode with ]]
    • Add \left ... \right) modifiers to surrounding delimiters with <F8>
    • Insert new command with <F7>
    • Convenient insert mode mappings for faster typing of e.g. maths
    • Context menu on citations (e.g. \cite{...}) mapped to <cr>
  • Improved folding (:h 'foldexpr')
  • Improved indentation (:h 'indentexpr')
  • Syntax highlighting
    • A consistent core syntax specification
    • General syntax highlighting for several popular LaTeX packages
    • Nested syntax highlighting for several popular LaTeX packages
    • Highlight matching delimiters
  • Support for multi-file project packages

For orientation, you can watch concise demonstrations of many of the motions, text objects, and text-editing features provided by VimTeX in the file VISUALS.md.

See the documentation for a thorough introduction to VimTeX (e.g. :h vimtex).

Other relevant plugins

Even though VimTeX provides a lot of nice features for working with LaTeX documents, there are several features that are better served by other, dedicated plugins. For a more detailed listing of these, please see :help vimtex-and-friends.

Linting and syntax checking

Snippets and templates

Tag navigation

Alternatives

The following are some alternative LaTeX plugins for Vim:

  • LaTeX-Suite

    The main difference between VimTeX and LaTeX-Suite (aka vim-latex) is probably that VimTeX does not try to implement a full fledged IDE for LaTeX inside Vim. E.g.:

    • VimTeX does not provide a full snippet feature, because this is better handled by UltiSnips or neosnippet or similar snippet engines.
    • VimTeX builds upon Vim principles: It provides text objects for environments, inline math, it provides motions for sections and paragraphs
    • VimTeX uses latexmk, latexrun, tectonic or arara for compilation with a callback feature to get instant feedback on compilation errors
    • VimTeX is very modular: if you don't like a feature, you can turn it off.
  • TexMagic.nvim

    "A simple, lightweight Neovim plugin that facilitates LaTeX build engine selection via magic comments. It is designed with the TexLab LSP server's build functionality in mind, which at the time of this plugin's inception had to be specified in init.lua/init.vim and could not be set on a by-project basis."

    This plugin should be combined with the TexLab LSP server, and it only works on neovim.

  • LaTeX-Box

    VimTeX currently has most of the features of LaTeX-Box, as well as some additional ones. See here for a relatively complete list of features.

    One particular feature that LaTeX-Box has but VimTeX misses, is the ability to do single-shot compilation with callback. This functionality was removed because it adds a lot of complexity for relatively little gain (IMHO).

  • AutomaticTexPlugin

  • vim-latex-live-preview

For more alternatives and more information and discussions regarding LaTeX plugins for Vim, see:

VimTeX on the Web

VimTeX users may be interested in reading @ejmastnak's series on Efficient LaTeX Using (Neo)Vim, which covers all the fundamentals of setting up a VimTeX-based LaTeX workflow, including usage of the VimTeX plugin, compilation, setting up forward and inverse search with a PDF reader, and Vimscript tools for user-specific customization.

If you know of (or create) other up-to-date, high-quality guides to VimTeX's features on third-party websites, feel free to submit a pull request updating this section.



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