When I am writing LaTeX, Markdown or Python files I use Neovim. Neovim is a software which refactor the Vim code base to be more accessible and be more extensible (while being compatible with almost all Vim plugins). Basically, it can be viewed as an enhanced Vim, see the Neovim about page for more details. After writing, automatic checks are useful and help you to save some time. In this post I share my Neovim configuration and usage.

Spell Checking

To do simple spell checking, you have to add in your ~/.config/nvim/init.vim file the following lines:

" spell languages
set spelllang=en
nnoremap <silent> <C-s> :set spell!<cr>
inoremap <silent> <C-s> <C-O>:set spell!<cr>


In Neovim press Ctrl+S to highlight the misspelled words and then repress Ctrl+S to hide the highlighted misspelled words. To select a word suggestion in Insert mode, press Ctrl+X then S to select a suggestion. In Normal mode press z= to see the word suggestions.

Remark: I know that my configuration inhibit the Ctrl+S user signal and it is my point to avoid unwanted behavior while typing.

Grammar Checking

To check my writing I use LanguageTool suite. It is available for free, have an offline mode using its open source software (it is the main reason I’m using it). Here I will help you to install it and how to use it with Neovim.

LanguageTool installation

LanguageTool requires java runtime. Here I will install OpenJDK and curl:

On Fedora

sudo dnf -y install java curl

On Ubuntu

sudo apt -y install default-jre curl

Then, on both distributions

The following commands download LanguageTool and install it in /usr/local.

curl https://languagetool.org/download/LanguageTool-stable.zip > /tmp/LanguageTool-stable.zip
sudo unzip /tmp/LanguageTool-stable.zip -d /usr/local/LanguageTool
sudo mv /usr/local/LanguageTool/LanguageTool-*/* /usr/local/LanguageTool/
rm /tmp/LanguageTool-stable.zip

Neovim configuration

I use vim-plug plugin manager in Neovim. It is why I use it to install the LanguageTool plugin from vigoux (but other choices are possible). Before I continue, I recommend you to have a recent version of Neovim (≥ 0.4.2) to use this plugin (as it use recent changes in Neovim).

In your ~/.config/nvim/init.vim between the call plug#begin(<plugging_folderpath>) and call plug#end() you have to add the following lines:

" Language tool integration
Plug 'vigoux/LanguageTool.nvim'                                                                                 

Then, outside the vim-plug calls you have to add:

" grammar checking
autocmd Filetype markdown LanguageToolSetUp
autocmd Filetype tex LanguageToolSetUp
let g:languagetool_server_jar='/usr/local/LanguageTool/languagetool-server.jar'


To use this plugin you first have to call :LanguageToolSetUp in Normal mode to start the LanguageTool server (which is automatically launched for tex files and markdown files).

Then, the plugin proposes the following useful commands:

  • :LanguageToolCheck: to highlight writing mistakes, you have to recall it when you change your code/text.
  • :LanguageToolSummary: to show details on highlighted errors in a split.
  • :LanguageToolClear: to clear LanguageTool displays.

To see more options look at the plugin page.

Hope it helps some of you. If you have a better setup or want to improve mine feel free to contribute or comment.

Cheers, Vincent.