How to get (g)Vim to display the character count of the current file

gvimvim

I like to write tutorials and articles for a programming forum I frequent. This forum has a character limit per post. I've used Notepad++ in the past to write posts and it keeps a live character count in the status bar. I'm starting to use gVim more and I really don't want to go back to Notepad++ at this point, but it is very useful to have this character count. If I go over the count, I usually end up pasting the post into Notepad++ so I can see when I've trimmed enough to get by the limit.

I've seen suggestions that :set ruler would help, but this only gives the character count via the current column index on the current line. This would be great if I didn't use paragraph breaks, but I'm sure you'd agree that reading several thousand characters in one paragraph is not comfortable.

I read the help and thought that rulerformat would work, but after looking over the statusline format it uses I didn't see anything that gives a character count for the current buffer.

I've seen that there are plugins that add this, but I'm still dipping my toes into gVim and I'm not sure I want to load random plugins before I understand what they do. I'd prefer to use something built in to vim, but if it doesn't exist it doesn't exist.

What should I do to accomplish my goal? If it involves a plugin, do you use it and how well does it work?

Best Answer

Press g CTRL-G in normal mode to display some statistics on the cursor and the file.

If you are in linux you can use wc -m to get the character count in the current file

:!wc -m %

Since it is not updated in real-time, maybe you want to map this command to something like:

map <F4> :!wc -m %<CR>