Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!


+ 1

+ 1
Add tool

Neovim vs Spacemacs: What are the differences?


Neovim and Spacemacs are both powerful text editors used by developers and programmers. However, they have key differences that set them apart from each other. In this article, we will explore these differences in detail.

  1. Installation and Configuration: Neovim is known for its simple and minimalistic installation process. It offers a flatpak and an appimage for easy installation across different systems. On the other hand, Spacemacs requires more configuration and setup, as it merges the functionalities of Emacs and Vim, making it more complex to install and customize.

  2. Default Keybindings: Neovim follows the traditional Vim keybindings and workflow, which are optimized for efficient text editing. Spacemacs, being an integration of Emacs and Vim, has a different default keybinding scheme that aims to combine the best features of both editors. It provides a more standardized approach, which might be easier for new users to grasp.

  3. Community and Plugin Ecosystem: Neovim has a dedicated and active community that focuses on improving the core functionalities of the editor. It has a growing ecosystem of plugins that enhance its features, emphasizing speed and efficiency. Spacemacs, on the other hand, is built on top of Emacs and benefits from its established community and extensive plugin ecosystem. It provides a vast range of pre-configured packages, making it more beginner-friendly.

  4. User Interface and Themes: Neovim has a minimalistic and terminal-oriented user interface by default. It provides a wide range of themes and customization options for users to personalize their editor. Spacemacs, on the other hand, offers a more modern and graphical user interface by default, making it visually appealing out of the box. It includes a curated set of themes and supports various customizations through its configuration layers.

  5. Performance and Stability: Neovim focuses on performance and stability, aiming to provide a fast and reliable editing experience. It achieves this by optimizing its core functionalities and keeping the codebase clean and maintainable. Spacemacs, being a more complex integration of Emacs and Vim, can suffer from occasional performance issues and instability, especially when using multiple configurations and packages.

  6. Documentation and Learning Curve: Neovim has well-documented and extensive official documentation, making it easier for users to understand and learn its features. It inherits the rich documentation of Vim, which has been available for decades. Spacemacs, being a combination of Emacs and Vim, can have a steeper learning curve. While it offers its own documentation and tutorials, users might need to refer to the individual Emacs and Vim documentation for a comprehensive understanding.

In summary, Neovim focuses on simplicity, speed, and efficiency, with a minimalistic interface and a strong emphasis on Vim-like workflows. Spacemacs, on the other hand, combines the best of Emacs and Vim, offering extensive pre-configured packages and a more modern graphical interface while sacrificing some simplicity and performance.

Get Advice from developers at your company using StackShare Enterprise. Sign up for StackShare Enterprise.
Learn More
Pros of Neovim
Pros of Spacemacs
  • 31
    Modern and more powerful Vim
  • 27
  • 22
    Asynchronous plugins
  • 20
  • 18
    Edit text fast
  • 15
    Great community
  • 15
    Vim plugins work out of the box
  • 9
  • 8
  • 8
    Built-in terminal support
  • 4
    Plugins in any language
  • 2
    External GUIs
  • 2
    Great Colorschemes
  • 2
    Extremely customizable
  • 14
    Advanced support for Vim key bindings
  • 12
  • 10
    Easy setup
  • 10
    Never have to touch the mouse
  • 7
    Community-driven configuration
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
    Fast-paced development
  • 4
  • 4
    Nice UI
  • 2
    Git Integration
  • 1

Sign up to add or upvote prosMake informed product decisions

What is Neovim?

Neovim is a project that seeks to aggressively refactor Vim in order to: simplify maintenance and encourage contributions, split the work between multiple developers, enable the implementation of new/modern user interfaces without any modifications to the core source, and improve extensibility with a new plugin architecture.

What is Spacemacs?

Since version 0.101.0 and later Spacemacs totally abolishes the frontiers between Vim and Emacs. The user can now choose his/her preferred editing style and enjoy all the Spacemacs features. Even better, it is possible to dynamically switch between the two styles seamlessly which makes it possible for programmers with different styles to do seat pair programming using the same editor.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

What companies use Neovim?
What companies use Spacemacs?
See which teams inside your own company are using Neovim or Spacemacs.
Sign up for StackShare EnterpriseLearn More

Sign up to get full access to all the companiesMake informed product decisions

What tools integrate with Neovim?
What tools integrate with Spacemacs?

Sign up to get full access to all the tool integrationsMake informed product decisions

What are some alternatives to Neovim and Spacemacs?
Vim is an advanced text editor that seeks to provide the power of the de-facto Unix editor 'Vi', with a more complete feature set. Vim is a highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems. Vim is distributed free as charityware.
At GitHub, we're building the text editor we've always wanted. A tool you can customize to do anything, but also use productively on the first day without ever touching a config file. Atom is modern, approachable, and hackable to the core. We can't wait to see what you build with it.
Kakoune is a code editor heavily inspired by Vim, as such most of its commands are similar to vi’s ones. Kakoune can operate in two modes, normal and insertion. In insertion mode, keys are directly inserted into the current buffer. In normal mode, keys are used to manipulate the current selection and to enter insertion mode.
GNU Emacs is an extensible, customizable text editor—and more. At its core is an interpreter for Emacs Lisp, a dialect of the Lisp programming language with extensions to support text editing.
SpaceVim is a Modular configuration, a bundle of custom settings and plugins, for Vim. It got inspired by spacemacs.
See all alternatives