ctags allow you to quickly navigate source code by jumping to the definition of a tag (eg: a function or variable declaration). This is vital on large projects, as without it you are stuck with grep or find.

ctags -R
will recursively build a tags file which is recognised by VIM (and other editors). Now if you edit a source file, you will be able to press (ctrl)] to jump to the definition of a tag, and (ctr)t to return back to where you were.

You need to keep the tags up to date, so in your Makefile add the following rule:
tags: $(SRCS) Makefile
-ctags -R
This will rebuild the tags if any of your source files change.

Large projects typically have nested directories. By default VIM does not search up for a central tags file, but you can make it do this by adding to your ~.vimrc
set tags=tags;/

What doesn't work too well is if your project depends on an external library. If the library is part of your source tree you can have a top level tags file, however how to keep this up to date is unknown to me. Also you will run into duplicate tags which your editor may or may not deal with nicely.

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