The process of making printable Greek files with vim has improved a lot with recent versions of vim. You can type both modern Greek and Greek with the full complement of accents (polutoniko). This describes the steps I use in Debian (Sid, but should work in any branch or indeed in other flavours of Linux).

Note added 27 July 2012: Typing Greek in vim seems to be easier now in the current version of vim (7.3). It doesn't seem to be necessary to use "set enc" or "set fenc". (Perhaps you didn't need it previously but I thought you did.)


  1. make sure all the texlive stuff is installed, including texlive-lang-greek. This should give you both greek and polutonikogreek (i.e. accents, breathings etc.).

  2. This is the template I use:
    % accents go before the letter
    % eta=h, theta=u, xi=j, chi=x, upsilon=y, psi=c, omega=w, final s=v
  3. :set keymap=greek

    Note: If you don't like the way the Greek keymap works you can edit it (located at /usr/share/vim/vim73/keymap/greek.vim in my case). The current key map seems rather non-intuitive; I've listed the strange ones in the above template.

  4. To produce your Greek file, do the following:

    1. Type your text: note that accents come BEFORE the vowel they relate to. Use > and < for breathings (if you want them).

    2. Run latex on the file you have made and check with xdvi to make sure that it has come out correctly.

    Using Latex codes

    If you want to insert Latex codes such as \vspace or \pagebreak, don't do this in Greek or they won't work. The easiest way of putting them in is to save the file and reload it but don't set the keymap to Greek. Just save the modified file and run latex on it.

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