How to set Vim as your default editor

Update VISUAL in .bashrc

Programs like git expect VISUAL to be set. Some other programs also expect EDITOR to be set.

# for bash
echo 'export EDITOR=vim' >> ~/.bashrc
echo 'export VISUAL=vim' >> ~/.bashrc

# for zsh
echo 'export EDITOR=vim' >> ~/.zshrc
echo 'export VISUAL=vim' >> ~/.zshrc

# for fish
echo 'export EDITOR=vim' >> ~/.config/fish/config.fsh
echo 'export VISUAL=vim' >> ~/.config/fish/config.fsh

You can also use the full path to vim, which you can find with $(command -v vim).

my_vim="$(command -v vim)"
echo "export EDITOR=$my_vim" >> ~/.bashrc
echo "export VISUAL=$my_vim" >> ~/.bashrc

And, of course, if vim isn`t already installed, you’ll need to install it:

sudo apt install -y vim

For All Users

I don’t like this method for two reasons:

  • it requires sudo
  • it requires manual input
sudo update-alternatives --config editor