Well, someone’s finally done it. William Tan has put together a set of vi key bindings for Microsoft Word. (Thanks for the pointer, NTK!) I just downloaded and installed it, and thought I’d mention a few things.

1. The author mentions the instability (“alpha” nature) of the code. I haven’t run it long, but I get quite a few “Error 5346” and “Error 4198” messages. I’m no VB expert (nor even a newbie) so I have no idea what those mean. It didn’t seem to affect the document I was editing.

2. Installing the .dot file exposed some weirdness. The default location where you’re supposed to put these files (on WinXP, with Word 2003) is c:\Documents And Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\Startup\. Both the Application Data and Microsoft directories in the above path were hidden from Windows Explorer and the dir command in the shell, but you can cd to them.

The easiest way to install the .dot file is to open up Word, navigate via menus: Tools / Options / File Locations / Startup. Click the modify button, which brings up a file dialog box. Then drag the .dot file to that dialog box.

All in all, I’m glad someone has done this. Now, if only they’d do it for an IDE editor. Errm, I mean a free IDE–I know Visual Slickedit has a killer vi emulation mode. Yes, I know about Vimulator for jEdit, but the author’s language (“This plugin is in the early stages of implementation and does not yet provide a consistent or reliable VI-style interface.”), along with the fact it was last released in 2002, scared me away. Actually, it looks like there is one available for Eclipse: viPlugin.

Regardless, a very cool hack. Thanks, William.

3 thoughts on “vi keybindings for Word

  1. wil says:

    Thanks Dan!

    I’ve just released v0.4 which fixes error 5346, and incorporated your installation tip into the README file. There are also a couple of fixes which makes it behave more like vi/vim.

  2. Fred says:

    Man, I love it!! Thanks a lot for making this!

    NB: my templates dir was “c:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\”

  3. moore says:

    Hey Fred,

    Please make sure to thank Wil, as he is the one who did the actual work. I just linked to it.

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