In Vim, if you type :help into the status bar, you get a window with this (contents truncated to the relevant bits):

*help.txt*      For Vim version 7.4.  Last change: 2012 Dec 06

                    VIM - main help file


USER MANUAL: These files explain how to accomplish an editing task.

Jump to a subject:  Position the cursor on a tag (e.g. |bars|) and hit CTRL-].

|usr_toc.txt|   Table Of Contents

Getting Started ~
|usr_01.txt|  About the manuals
|usr_02.txt|  The first steps in Vim
|usr_03.txt|  Moving around
|usr_04.txt|  Making small changes
|usr_05.txt|  Set your settings
|usr_06.txt|  Using syntax highlighting
|usr_07.txt|  Editing more than one file
|usr_08.txt|  Splitting windows
|usr_09.txt|  Using the GUI

Say I want to see more information about this item |usr_07.txt|, what command do I type?

I tried this:

Jump to a subject: Position the cursor on a tag (e.g. |bars|) and hit CTRL-].

But my terminal window has mapped ctrl - to "decrease text".

  • If you're using vim in a terminal window, you can also jump to a topic, with a mouse double click (left button)
    – bsd
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 10:12
  • When you say topic, do you mean like place the mouse on |usr_07.txt| and double click? didnt work for me Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 10:14
  • Are you using gnome or kde? I should have specified gnome-terminal
    – bsd
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 10:16
  • In general the command is C] the hypen is shown to demonstrate a key combination. It's not Control - it's `Control ]'
    – bsd
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 10:18
  • @bdowning using gnome, when I looked at the token ctrl - ] I mistook the ] as being a closing parenthesis for a longer statement, and intuitively I would equate ctrl + ] to a press ctrl and also press ] Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 10:26

3 Answers 3


You can use

:help usr_01.txt

to access a specific file. Usually more usefully you can jump to a particular topic:

:help syntax
:help wq
:help CTRL-]

This last notes that you can also use Ctrl-Click with the mouse, and double-click works too.

You can also use g] to access tagselect, which offers a list that you can select from with just numbers and Enter. In many cases that will be a list of one item, but it still avoids using Ctrl-] at any point.

Some other commands you could use to follow these links are also listed in :help tagsrch.txt.

  • :help usr_01.txt did it, doh, I was trying with | character Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 10:17

CTRL-] means hold down control and hit the ] key (not -).


Paul’s answer above explains how to jump from link to link in the vim help, but you can also open the file directly, if you know what you want to open, with eg, :help usr_01.txt

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