Two Beginner Questions

Hi! I am a beginner at Kakoune and Vim. I just posted two posts on the Subreddit but I’m posting them here too because I’m not sure how much traffic that site gets:
Here is the first:

As this is my first post I can’t post the link to the second but it is reproduced below.

Here is the text of the posts:

  1. Hi! I just found Kakoune. I am learning Vim right now (neoVim actually). People say that there is a steep learning curve but I’m getting the hang of it as I develop muscle memory for the control key/other keys. One of the things that makes vim actually beginner friendly is the excellently written user manual perhaps accessed like this “:help usr_01.txt” which is friendly to navigate through. Is there any such build-in user manual in Kakoune?

  2. This is a really basic question but on the github page the basic annotation has things like <a-[wbe]> my question is what does the ‘a’ stand for? Is there a guide to the notation used on that page?

Thanks for tolerating a beginner. I know these things seem trivial but easy onboarding for beginners is key to making any ecosystem grow.

In the <a-...> notation, a means the Alt key. Thus, <a-w> means that you should press Alt and w simultaneously. About the help: I am afraid there is no central place with help manuals. If you know the vim tutor (the introduction to vim that explains the basic keys), then the following document may help:

Copying this text file to your hard disk and opening it in Kakoune will give you some idea of the basic key combinations. Aside from this, once in Kakoune, if you press <esc> (Escape) to be sure that you are not in Insert mode, then typing :doc <space> as a command will show you various options. Choose any of them to read the corresponding document.

Unfortunately there is not much good, easy documentation for newcomers :disappointed: I suspect most of the people on the list were already well versed with programmers’ editors, for example a modal editor like vim, before trying kakoune.

Kakoune does have an online user manual, which you can access via :help. Unfortunately it’s not quite as rigorously structured as Vim’s, but (like so many other parts of Kakoune) it does have a completion menu to list what pages are available, and the headings on each page.

You can also just read the pages online:

I did not mean to confuse anyone with my statement about the “no central place”. What I meant is that it does not feel like an integrated manual such as those availablle for vim (for example, the trampoline is not present by default and some newcomers are unaware of it, despite being helpful). By the way, the :help mentioned in Screwtapello’s message is the same command as the :doc command I mentioned. It is important to type a space, and not enter, after the command, to be able to see the options (pages) available.

1 Like

Hi jam, you might find these repositories helpful.

basic-interactions.kak provides an in editor info box with short descriptions.

Also search-doc.kak it provides a command for opening the kakoune documentation for a specific item.

Hope this helps and welcome to kak :wave: