How to Install and Use Neovim on Ubuntu and other Linux Distributions

Want to use Neovim? Here, we show you how to install it and get the ball rolling.
Warp Terminal

You must have heard about the famous Vim text editor already. However, this article is about its fork, Neovim.

Vim is also a fork of vi which makes Neovim fork of a fork. So, you can end up using anything for some of its unique traits.

If you decide to use Neovim, let me help you get started with it on Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

Neovim: Overview

Neovim with a GUI

Neovim is a project known for its simple maintenance and community contributions. Moreover, the development effort is distributed well between multiple developers.

For end-users, Neovim is much more extensible than one would expect. The aim of Neovim is to provide better applications of it without compromising the traditional capabilities of Vim.

With a GUI for Neovim, you can get an enhanced editing experience.

Suggested Read πŸ“–

Vim vs Nano: What Should You Choose?
Vim and Nano are two popular terminal text editors. How are they different? What’s best for you? Let us find out.

Features of Neovim

While you can explore all about it on its official website and its GitHub page. Let me highlight some features:

  • Modern Graphical Interfaces
  • API access from many language including (C/C++, C#, Go, Haskell, Java/Kotlin, JavaScript/Node.js, Lua, Perl, Python, Ruby, Rust to name a few)
  • Embedded, scriptable terminal emulator
  • Asynchronous job control
  • Shared data among multiple instances
  • XDG base directories support
  • Compatible with most Vim plugins, including Ruby and Python plugins
We advise you to learn the usage of Vim and Neovim before you start using it.

Suggested Read πŸ“–

11 Pro Vim Tips to Get Better Editing Experience
You can learn plenty of Vim tips on your own, or you can learn it from others’ experiences.

Installing Neovim on Ubuntu and Linux

Installing Neovim is simple due to its popularity. As Neovim is available in official repos of any distribution you pick.

We also have a guide to install Vim on Linux, in case you want that.

To install Neovim on Ubuntu, just click on the Ubuntu Software icon in the dock. Then, search for Neovim. You can select the snap or the deb version as per your preference. However, the deb package version will be an outdated version of Neovim.

neovim listed on ubuntu software center

And, if you do not want the snap version, you can grab the latest deb file from the Github releases page for Neovim. If you look closer in the releases page, there is an Appimage file as well.

If you want to utilize the terminal instead of the GUI, here's what you can do:

For Ubuntu and Debian based distributions, enter the following command to install

sudo apt install neovim

For Manjaro and Arch Linux, use the below command to update your system and install Neovim

sudo pacman -Syu neovim

For Fedora, use the following command

sudo dnf install -y neovim

To install the Flatpak, you can use this command

flatpak install flathub io.neovim.nvim

Lastly, to install the snap package use the below command

sudo snap install nvim --classic

If you prefer building software from source, follow the steps given on the project's Github page.

How to use Neovim

To use Neovim after installation is complete, just launch it from the application menu by pressing the super key and typing the name "neovim" without quotes. This will open a terminal window with Neovim open.

Or you can just open any Terminal Emulator of your choice and enter the following command


Yes, not "neovim" but just "nvim". For example, to edit /etc/fstab enter the following command.

sudo nvim /etc/fstab

Now the fstab file will open as shown in the screenshot below.

Don't worry if you cannot exit the editor; press Shift+Z+Z. For example, if this shortcut key confuses, use the keys you need to type "ZZ" (uppercase) without quotes in any text editor.

On that note, I should re-iterate that you need to learn Vim or Neovim and go through the documentation to efficiently make use of all its features.


Installing and launching Neovim is pretty straightforward but learning it will require some keyboard grinding for sure.

This was just an overview of the editor. I am not an expert on this, but I hope this serves well for all the beginners out there!

πŸ’¬ Do you use Neovim? Share your experience on it in the comments below.

About the author
Anuj Sharma

Anuj Sharma

A Linux hobbyist who lives in the Himalayas.

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