I want an editor that can put the cursor anywhere in the text document, as if it were filled with spaces everywhere.

This way I can place the cursor anywhere and type or paste right away, without the need to fill the left hand side with spaces or tabs.

Spaces on the right hand side of the cursor could be trimmed, moved or overriden.


2 Answers 2


Vim has the virtualedit option:

Virtual editing means that the cursor can be positioned where there is no actual character. This can be halfway into a tab or beyond the end of the line. Useful for selecting a rectangle in Visual mode and editing a table.

Issue :set virtualedit=all to enable it and :set virtualedit= to disable it.

  • 2
    Works perfectly with GVIM. This shows that editors like Mate Pluma won't replace the older ones, compared by pure functionality. :)
    – WGRM
    Jul 23, 2021 at 13:24

The environment has had a quarter-plane model editing mode for many years, Picture Mode.

Just enter M-x picture-mode

From the homepage: "Picture mode replaces the most frequently-used commands with variants that simulate the quarter-plane model of text. They do this by inserting spaces or by converting tabs to spaces.

Most of the basic editing commands of Emacs are redefined by Picture mode to do essentially the same thing but in a quarter-plane way."

  • The link you gave didn't seem that easy. ^^
    – WGRM
    Jul 23, 2021 at 13:56
  • @WGRM I had intented to post the link to the answer instead of to the previous emacs-specific question from stackoverflow from 2012 in the comment to your Q, but was too much in a hurry to notice the error. Jul 23, 2021 at 15:47
  • You gave both. I remember seeing both pages. But this "specification" really scared me off. :) Although i'm far away from being settled, vim suits me better for now. When i got some experience with those editors, i'll do a comparison.
    – WGRM
    Jul 23, 2021 at 16:00
  • @WGRM I used to be a vimmer too, the text-editing grammar is superb. Then I discovered, that Emacs has a complete implementation of the the VIM grammar available in the mature EVIL - The extensible vi layer for Emacs extension. Now I have both goodies: Vim Grammar, and ORG-Mode, in the same program. Jul 23, 2021 at 16:18
  • See, i have to get to this point first. But that's exactly what i was talking about. I'm currently occupied with Mate Desktop, XDG, MiME and Desktop Apps. It's amazing how well done everything is. Windows is crap in comparison. Have a look at caja/nautilus actions. All those commands, aliases, scripts and whatever can be put to good use. :)
    – WGRM
    Jul 23, 2021 at 16:44

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