Saturday, March 22, 2008

vim sorcery: read/write pdf files

I hate switching windows to refer some manual while coding.. completely breaks the flow. I was browsing through some vim tips, which had an entry for reading MS Word docs in vim and wanted to do the same with pdf files... and then decided to take it a notch higher. By adding the following entries to your .vimrc, you can read/write pdf files transparently, as if they were just regular files. Of course, you can also open these pdf files in regular pdf viewers.

Here's how to do it:
  1. Get xpdf and cups-pdf. On Ubuntu this should do the trick:
    sudo apt-get install xpdf cups-pdf
  2. cups-pdf prints the pdf files and saves them in ~/PDF/ by default. I am assuming that these settings wont be changed.
  3. Add the following lines to ~/.vimrc
    autocmd BufReadPre *.pdf set ro nowrap
    autocmd BufReadPost *.pdf silent %!pdftotext "%" -layout -q -eol unix -
    autocmd BufWritePost *.pdf silent !rm -rf ~/PDF/%
    autocmd BufWritePost *.pdf silent !lp -s -d "%"
    autocmd BufWritePost *.pdf silent !until [ -e ~/PDF/% ]; do sleep 1; done
    autocmd BufWritePost *.pdf silent !mv ~/PDF/% %:p:h
BTW, I have also added this tip to vim Tips. Once setup properly, you can open, save, write pdf files in vim as if they were regular text files.(I guess I already said that earlier.. but what the heck)

1 comment:

  1. This is great man. Especially for people surviving on vim.