I first heard of VimWiki reading a blog post written by Linell Bonnette (I’m not the Josh mentioned in his post). I knew right away that I needed VimWiki in my life. No mucking around, let’s hook right in.

Setting up the Environment

These steps are for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS but should work fine on other versions of Linux with minimal changes to commands.

Even though Vim is included in Ubuntu (via the vi command) I was required to reinstall Vim via the package manager. This can be done by running the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt install vim

You will now need to setup the environment for VimWiki by editing your vimrc file. Open your vimrc with the following command:

vim ~/.vimrc

And then add the following lines:

set nocompatible
filetype plugin on
syntax on 

Save and close Vim with the following command:


Installing VimWiki

There are multiple ways to install VimWiki. The easiest is to clone the GitHub repository into the Vim plugins directory. This can be done with the following command:

git clone https://github.com/vimwiki/vimwiki.git ~/.vim/pack/plugins/start/vimwiki

VimWiki is now installed.

Accessing your VimWiki

By default, VimWiki is stored at ~/vimwiki. This is where you can access all the files you create. The real magic is when you open your files in Vim.

Open Vim and type the following command


This command takes you to the index page of your wiki. As per the ReadMe VimWiki has three syntaxes; VimWiki (default), Markdown (markdown), and MediaWiki (media). I have opted to use Markdown as it is the same syntax that is used by Jekyll.

To use markdown add the following line to your vimrc file.

let g:vimwiki_list = [{'path': '~/vimwiki/',
                      \ 'syntax': 'markdown', 'ext': '.md'}]

You can now navigate your text files with the grace of a Vim Poweruser!