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Minimd is a Vim plugin that helps with writing long Markdown documents by folding sections and showing outlines of their contents.

The basic idea is that pressing spacebar on an unfolded level 1 header will fold that header, while pressing spacebar on a folded level 1 header will both unfold it and fold all the level 2 headers it contains. If you fold then unfold a level 3 header, any level 4 headers are folded, and so on. Pressing a number followed by the spacebar folds all headers of that number, which is an outline.

Minimd also has a few other features to make working with long documents easier:

  • Header motion command that ignore code blocks (so don't mistake # comments for headers);
  • Minimal syntax highlighting (headers, code blocks, square brackets, checkboxes, and the task markers ACTV, TODO, WAIT, CNCL, and DONE) so as not to be too distracting and to speed up the folding a bit
  • Shortcuts to simultaneously change the levels of all headers within a fold



Normal Mode Key Action
Space Fold or unfold the current header.
nSpace Fold all headers of level n.
Tab or ]h Jump to next header.
nTab or n]h Jump to next header of level n.
Shift-Tab or [h Jump to previous header.
nShift-Tab or n[h Jump to previous header of level n.
= Promote header (###).
- Demote header (###).
Enter Add and toggle checkboxes in lists
(-- [ ]- [x]- [ ]).

The header promotion and demotion commands act on all enclosed headers when invoked on a fold.

As always in Vim, you can execute any command from Insert mode by prefixing it with Ctrl-o; so, for example, you would toggle a checkbox without leaving Insert mode by typing Ctrl-o followed by Enter. For more on executing Normal mode commands from Insert mode, consult :help i_CTRL-o.


This plugin can be used with Vim's default Markdown syntax by adding the line let g:default_markdown_syntax = 1 to your vimrc.

The default mappings for this plugin's folding, motion, header promotion and demotion, and task toggling commands are as follows.

nmap <silent><buffer> <Space> :<C-u>MiniMDToggleFold<CR>
nmap <silent><buffer> <Tab> :<C-u>MiniMDNext<CR>
nmap <silent><buffer> <S-Tab> :<C-u>MiniMDPrev<CR>
nmap <silent><buffer> ]h :<C-u>MiniMDNext<CR>
nmap <silent><buffer> [h :<C-u>MiniMDPrev<CR>
nnoremap <silent><buffer> = :MiniMDPromote<CR>
nnoremap <silent><buffer> - :MiniMDDemote<CR>
nmap <silent><buffer> <CR> :MiniMDTaskToggle<CR>
vmap <silent><buffer> <CR> :MiniMDTaskToggle<CR>

Note that, according to :help v:count, the mappings for MiniMDToggleFold, MiniMDNext, and MiniMDPrev must be prefixed with <C-u> in order for the functions wrapped by those commands to accept numeric arguments. So if, e.g., you wanted to map the folding command to z, you would add a line like the following to your .vimrc:

nmap z :<C-u>MiniMDToggleFold<CR>

Exporting Files

Exports to other file types are best done with Pandoc since Minimd strictly adheres to a subset of the overlap between Pandoc's Markdown syntax and the Commonmark specification.

You can easily set keybindings to facilitate repeated exports. For instance, the sequence <Leader>ep could be set to export a PDF of the current Markdown file by adding the line autocmd FileType minimd nmap <Leader>ep :!pandoc -f markdown -o example.pdf '%' to your vimrc. See the Pandoc manual for an overview of its many options.

Related Projects

Minimd started out as an implementation of the header visibility cycling idea from Org Mode (and of Outline Mode before that) for Emacs. If you use Emacs, you should probably use one of those, and it should probably be Org Mode.

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