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So I use vim all the time, and I've grown use to the navigation keys h, j, k, l, (especially when navigating with NERDTree).

Does anyone know if it's possible to implement this motion in macOS Finder.app?

I thought of remapping the keys using something like Karabiner or BetterTouchTool, but in either case, I would not be able to use those keys when renaming a file.

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Vim can get addictive once we get the hang of it. To vim-ify the Finder is a lovely idea.

However, what features are you thinking about? For example, browsing files using the navigation keys h, j, k, l, then pressing i to enter edit mode and rename files or folders?

Vim’s power lies in text mode, whereas macOS interface is designed to be used with a mouse/trackpad. It may be better to stick with vim to process textual information, and to use mouse/trackpad in a graphical environment.

By the way, I cannot see a simple and effective way to hack the Finder (as you said Karabiner is fantastic, but it just won't do it). It would probably require to program a specific macOS Finder utility using Swift.

Alternatively:

  1. Some code editors can be controlled the vim way, like Sublime Text with enabling the Vintage Mode.

  2. Web browsers can be controlled the vim way: Chrome with Vimium or cVim, Firefox with Vimium-FF or Vim Vixen (thanks to @Ruslan and @wchargin for mentioning it)

  3. The bash shell running in Terminal.app can be used in vi mode using set -o vi or set editing-mode vi.

  4. There are great textual file managers ready to install via Homebrew that worth a try, like:

    • nnn. To install run brew install nnn.

    • lf. To install run brew install lf.

    • vifm. To install run brew lf.

    • ranger. To install run brew install ranger.

    • midnight-commander. To install run brew install midnight-commander. Run by typing mc.

    • fdclone. To install run brew install fdclone. Run by typing fd.

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    It may be better <...> to use mouse/trackpad in a graphical environment. Not always. I consider modern web browsers graphical environments, and there used to be quite some extensions like Vimperator, which worked quite successfully (until broken by changing APIs). So there might have been a similarly useful extension for Finder. – Ruslan Dec 29 '18 at 6:45
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    @Ruslan: Vimium-FF, based off its Chrome counterpart, works quite well with latest Firefox. – wchargin Dec 29 '18 at 7:27
  • @Ruslan & wchargin Thanks for mentioning Vim navigation in browsers, I added it to the list. – Yoric Dec 29 '18 at 7:48
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Just want to add SurfingKeys to the list of VIM like plugins for Chrome.

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