What is the difference between Vim and Gvim? Vim vs Gvim:
GVim is Vim with a built-in GUI, whereas plain Vim needs a terminal emulator (like GNOME Terminal, for example) to run. The built-in GUI provides several extra features to GVim. Borrowing from a post in the Vi and Vim Stack Exchange: Gvim vs Vim
Some features that will only work with gVim:
- Supports a much wider range of colors (RGB), while the terminal only supports 256 colors (see this and this).
- Some other more advanced graphical features, such as “wiggly lines” for spell checking, more flexible cursor shapes, etc. A terminal can only do “blocks of monospaced characters”.
- Enables mouse support, if otherwise left alone (including drag-and-drop for files). Terminal Vim can also handle the mouse quite well, but not drag-and-drop.
- Offers a nice, customizable menu system, where each option has the corresponding Vim command listed.
- gVim can offer you scrollbars which scroll the Vim buffer (and not the Terminal scrollback).
- You can have popup “balloons” (aka. “tooltips”).
- Many terminals do not provide true italics like gVim does.
- Has integrated font support.
Secondly, even if you prefer using Vim, installing a GUI version may offer more compile-time features than the version without, at least in some distros (such as
clientserversupport on Debian-based system in
vim-gnome). Things gVim doesn’t do:
- gVim isn’t a (full) terminal emulator, so starting external programs that use a lot of terminal features won’t work very well. For example try using
:!irssifrom gVim, or pressing
Kover a word (which, by default, opens the manpage for that word). Also see this.