Quickfix

Nvim :help pages, generated from source using the tree-sitter-vimdoc parser.


This subject is introduced in section 30.1 of the user manual.

1. Using QuickFix commands Quickfix E42

Vim has a special mode to speedup the edit-compile-edit cycle. This is inspired by the quickfix option of the Manx's Aztec C compiler on the Amiga. The idea is to save the error messages from the compiler in a file and use Vim to jump to the errors one by one. You can examine each problem and fix it, without having to remember all the error messages.
In Vim the quickfix commands are used more generally to find a list of positions in files. For example, :vimgrep finds pattern matches. You can use the positions in a script with the getqflist() function. Thus you can do a lot more than the edit/compile/fix cycle!
If you have the error messages in a file you can start Vim with:
vim -q filename
From inside Vim an easy way to run a command and handle the output is with the :make command (see below).
The 'errorformat' option should be set to match the error messages from your compiler (see errorformat below).
quickfix-ID Each quickfix list has a unique identifier called the quickfix ID and this number will not change within a Vim session. The getqflist() function can be used to get the identifier assigned to a list. There is also a quickfix list number which may change whenever more than ten lists are added to a quickfix stack.
location-list E776 A location list is a window-local quickfix list. You get one after commands like :lvimgrep, :lgrep, :lhelpgrep, :lmake, etc., which create a location list instead of a quickfix list as the corresponding :vimgrep, :grep, :helpgrep, :make do. location-list-file-window A location list is associated with a window and each window can have a separate location list. A location list can be associated with only one window. The location list is independent of the quickfix list.
When a window with a location list is split, the new window gets a copy of the location list. When there are no longer any references to a location list, the location list is destroyed.
quickfix-changedtick Every quickfix and location list has a read-only changedtick variable that tracks the total number of changes made to the list. Every time the quickfix list is modified, this count is incremented. This can be used to perform an action only when the list has changed. The getqflist() and getloclist() functions can be used to query the current value of changedtick. You cannot change the changedtick variable.
The following quickfix commands can be used. The location list commands are similar to the quickfix commands, replacing the 'c' prefix in the quickfix command with 'l'.
E924 If the current window was closed by an autocommand while processing a location list command, it will be aborted.
E925 E926 If the current quickfix or location list was changed by an autocommand while processing a quickfix or location list command, it will be aborted.
:cc :cc[!] [nr] Display error [nr]. If [nr] is omitted, the same :[nr]cc[!] error is displayed again. Without [!] this doesn't work when jumping to another buffer, the current buffer has been changed, there is the only window for the buffer and both 'hidden' and 'autowrite' are off. When jumping to another buffer with [!] any changes to the current buffer are lost, unless 'hidden' is set or there is another window for this buffer. The 'switchbuf' settings are respected when jumping to a buffer. When used in the quickfix window the line number can be used, including "." for the current line and "$" for the last line.
:ll :ll[!] [nr] Same as ":cc", except the location list for the :[nr]ll[!] current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cn :cne :cnext E553 :[count]cn[ext][!] Display the [count] next error in the list that includes a file name. If there are no file names at all, go to the [count] next error. See :cc for [!] and 'switchbuf'.
:lne :lnext :[count]lne[xt][!] Same as ":cnext", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:[count]cN[ext][!] :cp :cprevious :cprev :cN :cNext :[count]cp[revious][!] Display the [count] previous error in the list that includes a file name. If there are no file names at all, go to the [count] previous error. See :cc for [!] and 'switchbuf'.
:[count]lN[ext][!] :lp :lprevious :lprev :lN :lNext :[count]lp[revious][!] Same as ":cNext" and ":cprevious", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cabo :cabove :[count]cabo[ve] Go to the [count] error above the current line in the current buffer. If [count] is omitted, then 1 is used. If there are no errors, then an error message is displayed. Assumes that the entries in a quickfix list are sorted by their buffer number and line number. If there are multiple errors on the same line, then only the first entry is used. If [count] exceeds the number of entries above the current line, then the first error in the file is selected.
:lab :labove :[count]lab[ove] Same as ":cabove", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cbel :cbelow :[count]cbel[ow] Go to the [count] error below the current line in the current buffer. If [count] is omitted, then 1 is used. If there are no errors, then an error message is displayed. Assumes that the entries in a quickfix list are sorted by their buffer number and line number. If there are multiple errors on the same line, then only the first entry is used. If [count] exceeds the number of entries below the current line, then the last error in the file is selected.
:lbel :lbelow :[count]lbel[ow] Same as ":cbelow", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cbe :cbefore :[count]cbe[fore] Go to the [count] error before the current cursor position in the current buffer. If [count] is omitted, then 1 is used. If there are no errors, then an error message is displayed. Assumes that the entries in a quickfix list are sorted by their buffer, line and column numbers. If [count] exceeds the number of entries before the current position, then the first error in the file is selected.
:lbe :lbefore :[count]lbe[fore] Same as ":cbefore", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:caf :cafter :[count]caf[ter] Go to the [count] error after the current cursor position in the current buffer. If [count] is omitted, then 1 is used. If there are no errors, then an error message is displayed. Assumes that the entries in a quickfix list are sorted by their buffer, line and column numbers. If [count] exceeds the number of entries after the current position, then the last error in the file is selected.
:laf :lafter :[count]laf[ter] Same as ":cafter", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cnf :cnfile :[count]cnf[ile][!] Display the first error in the [count] next file in the list that includes a file name. If there are no file names at all or if there is no next file, go to the [count] next error. See :cc for [!] and 'switchbuf'.
:lnf :lnfile :[count]lnf[ile][!] Same as ":cnfile", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:[count]cNf[ile][!] :cpf :cpfile :cNf :cNfile :[count]cpf[ile][!] Display the last error in the [count] previous file in the list that includes a file name. If there are no file names at all or if there is no next file, go to the [count] previous error. See :cc for [!] and 'switchbuf'.
:[count]lNf[ile][!] :lpf :lpfile :lNf :lNfile :[count]lpf[ile][!] Same as ":cNfile" and ":cpfile", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:crewind :cr :cr[ewind][!] [nr] Display error [nr]. If [nr] is omitted, the FIRST error is displayed. See :cc.
:lrewind :lr :lr[ewind][!] [nr] Same as ":crewind", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cfirst :cfir :cfir[st][!] [nr] Same as ":crewind".
:lfirst :lfir :lfir[st][!] [nr] Same as ":lrewind".
:clast :cla :cla[st][!] [nr] Display error [nr]. If [nr] is omitted, the LAST error is displayed. See :cc.
:llast :lla :lla[st][!] [nr] Same as ":clast", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cq :cquit :cq[uit][!] :{N}cq[uit][!] :cq[uit][!] {N} Quit Vim with error code {N}. {N} defaults to one. Useful when Vim is called from another program: e.g., a compiler will not compile the same file again, git commit will abort the committing process, fc (built-in for shells like bash and zsh) will not execute the command, etc. {N} can also be zero, in which case Vim exits normally. WARNING: All changes in files are lost. It works like ":qall!" :qall, except that Nvim exits non-zero or [count].
:cf :cfi :cfile :cf[ile][!] [errorfile] Read the error file and jump to the first error. This is done automatically when Vim is started with the -q option. You can use this command when you keep Vim running while compiling. If you give the name of the errorfile, the 'errorfile' option will be set to [errorfile]. See :cc for [!]. If the encoding of the error file differs from the 'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding' option to specify the encoding.
:lf :lfi :lfile :lf[ile][!] [errorfile] Same as ":cfile", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list. You can not use the -q command-line option to set the location list.
:cg[etfile] [errorfile] :cg :cgetfile Read the error file. Just like ":cfile" but don't jump to the first error. If the encoding of the error file differs from the 'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding' option to specify the encoding.
:lg[etfile] [errorfile] :lg :lge :lgetfile Same as ":cgetfile", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:caddf :caddfile :caddf[ile] [errorfile] Read the error file and add the errors from the errorfile to the current quickfix list. If a quickfix list is not present, then a new list is created. If the encoding of the error file differs from the 'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding' option to specify the encoding.
:laddf :laddfile :laddf[ile] [errorfile] Same as ":caddfile", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cb :cbuffer E681 :cb[uffer][!] [bufnr] Read the error list from the current buffer. When [bufnr] is given it must be the number of a loaded buffer. That buffer will then be used instead of the current buffer. A range can be specified for the lines to be used. Otherwise all lines in the buffer are used. See :cc for [!].
:lb :lbuffer :lb[uffer][!] [bufnr] Same as ":cbuffer", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cgetb :cgetbuffer :cgetb[uffer] [bufnr] Read the error list from the current buffer. Just like ":cbuffer" but don't jump to the first error.
:lgetb :lgetbuffer :lgetb[uffer] [bufnr] Same as ":cgetbuffer", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cad :cadd :caddbuffer :cad[dbuffer] [bufnr] Read the error list from the current buffer and add the errors to the current quickfix list. If a quickfix list is not present, then a new list is created. Otherwise, same as ":cbuffer".
:laddb :laddbuffer :laddb[uffer] [bufnr] Same as ":caddbuffer", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cex :cexpr E777 :cex[pr][!] {expr} Create a quickfix list using the result of {expr} and jump to the first error. If {expr} is a String, then each newline terminated line in the String is processed using the global value of 'errorformat' and the result is added to the quickfix list. If {expr} is a List, then each String item in the list is processed and added to the quickfix list. Non String items in the List are ignored. See :cc for [!]. Examples:
:cexpr system('grep -n xyz *')
:cexpr getline(1, '$')
:lex :lexpr :lex[pr][!] {expr} Same as :cexpr, except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cgete :cgetexpr :cgete[xpr] {expr} Create a quickfix list using the result of {expr}. Just like :cexpr, but don't jump to the first error.
:lgete :lgetexpr :lgete[xpr] {expr} Same as :cgetexpr, except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cadde :caddexpr :cadde[xpr] {expr} Evaluate {expr} and add the resulting lines to the current quickfix list. If a quickfix list is not present, then a new list is created. The current cursor position will not be changed. See :cexpr for more information. Example:
:g/mypattern/caddexpr expand("%") .. ":" .. line(".") ..  ":" .. getline(".")
:lad :addd :laddexpr :lad[dexpr] {expr} Same as ":caddexpr", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:cl :clist :cl[ist] [from] [, [to]] List all errors that are valid quickfix-valid. If numbers [from] and/or [to] are given, the respective range of errors is listed. A negative number counts from the last error backwards, -1 being the last error. The 'switchbuf' settings are respected when jumping to a buffer. The :filter command can be used to display only the quickfix entries matching a supplied pattern. The pattern is matched against the filename, module name, pattern and text of the entry.
:cl[ist] +{count} List the current and next {count} valid errors. This is similar to ":clist from from+count", where "from" is the current error position.
:cl[ist]! [from] [, [to]] List all errors.
:cl[ist]! +{count} List the current and next {count} error lines. This is useful to see unrecognized lines after the current one. For example, if ":clist" shows:
8384 testje.java:252: error: cannot find symbol
Then using ":cl! +3" shows the reason:
8384 testje.java:252: error: cannot find symbol
8385: ZexitCode = Fmainx();
8386: ^
8387: symbol: method Fmainx()
:lli[st] [from] [, [to]] :lli :llist Same as ":clist", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:lli[st]! [from] [, [to]] List all the entries in the location list for the current window.
If you insert or delete lines, mostly the correct error location is still found because hidden marks are used. Sometimes, when the mark has been deleted for some reason, the message "line changed" is shown to warn you that the error location may not be correct. If you quit Vim and start again the marks are lost and the error locations may not be correct anymore.
Two autocommands are available for running commands before and after a quickfix command (':make', ':grep' and so on) is executed. See QuickFixCmdPre and QuickFixCmdPost for details.
QuickFixCmdPost-example When 'encoding' differs from the locale, the error messages may have a different encoding from what Vim is using. To convert the messages you can use this code:
function QfMakeConv()
   let qflist = getqflist()
   for i in qflist
      let i.text = iconv(i.text, "cp936", "utf-8")
   endfor
   call setqflist(qflist)
endfunction

au QuickfixCmdPost make call QfMakeConv()
Another option is using 'makeencoding'.
quickfix-title Every quickfix and location list has a title. By default the title is set to the command that created the list. The getqflist() and getloclist() functions can be used to get the title of a quickfix and a location list respectively. The setqflist() and setloclist() functions can be used to modify the title of a quickfix and location list respectively. Examples:
call setqflist([], 'a', {'title' : 'Cmd output'})
echo getqflist({'title' : 1})
call setloclist(3, [], 'a', {'title' : 'Cmd output'})
echo getloclist(3, {'title' : 1})
quickfix-index When you jump to a quickfix/location list entry using any of the quickfix commands (e.g. :cc, :cnext, :cprev, etc.), that entry becomes the currently selected entry. The index of the currently selected entry in a quickfix/location list can be obtained using the getqflist()/getloclist() functions. Examples:
echo getqflist({'idx' : 0}).idx
echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 0}).idx
echo getloclist(2, {'idx' : 0}).idx
For a new quickfix list, the first entry is selected and the index is 1. Any entry in any quickfix/location list can be set as the currently selected entry using the setqflist() function. Examples:
call setqflist([], 'a', {'idx' : 12})
call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 7})
call setloclist(1, [], 'a', {'idx' : 7})
quickfix-size You can get the number of entries (size) in a quickfix and a location list using the getqflist() and getloclist() functions respectively. Examples:
echo getqflist({'size' : 1})
echo getloclist(5, {'size' : 1})
quickfix-context Any Vim type can be associated as a context with a quickfix or location list. The setqflist() and the setloclist() functions can be used to associate a context with a quickfix and a location list respectively. The getqflist() and the getloclist() functions can be used to retrieve the context of a quickfix and a location list respectively. This is useful for a Vim plugin dealing with multiple quickfix/location lists. Examples:
let somectx = {'name' : 'Vim', 'type' : 'Editor'}
call setqflist([], 'a', {'context' : somectx})
echo getqflist({'context' : 1})

let newctx = ['red', 'green', 'blue']
call setloclist(2, [], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'context' : newctx})
echo getloclist(2, {'id' : qfid, 'context' : 1})
quickfix-parse You can parse a list of lines using 'errorformat' without creating or modifying a quickfix list using the getqflist() function. Examples:
echo getqflist({'lines' : ["F1:10:Line10", "F2:20:Line20"]})
echo getqflist({'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn quickfix *')})
This returns a dictionary where the "items" key contains the list of quickfix entries parsed from lines. The following shows how to use a custom 'errorformat' to parse the lines without modifying the 'errorformat' option:
echo getqflist({'efm' : '%f#%l#%m', 'lines' : ['F1#10#Line']})
EXECUTE A COMMAND IN ALL THE BUFFERS IN QUICKFIX OR LOCATION LIST: :cdo :cdo[!] {cmd} Execute {cmd} in each valid entry in the quickfix list. It works like doing this:
:cfirst
:{cmd}
:cnext
:{cmd}
etc.
When the current file can't be abandoned and the [!] is not present, the command fails. When going to the next entry fails execution stops. The last buffer (or where an error occurred) becomes the current buffer. {cmd} can contain '|' to concatenate several commands.
Only valid entries in the quickfix list are used. A range can be used to select entries, e.g.:
:10,$cdo cmd
To skip entries 1 to 9.
Note: While this command is executing, the Syntax autocommand event is disabled by adding it to 'eventignore'. This considerably speeds up editing each buffer. Also see :bufdo, :tabdo, :argdo, :windo, :ldo, :cfdo and :lfdo.
:cfdo :cfdo[!] {cmd} Execute {cmd} in each file in the quickfix list. It works like doing this:
:cfirst
:{cmd}
:cnfile
:{cmd}
etc.
Otherwise it works the same as :cdo.
:ldo :ld[o][!] {cmd} Execute {cmd} in each valid entry in the location list for the current window. It works like doing this:
:lfirst
:{cmd}
:lnext
:{cmd}
etc.
Only valid entries in the location list are used. Otherwise it works the same as :cdo.
:lfdo :lfdo[!] {cmd} Execute {cmd} in each file in the location list for the current window. It works like doing this:
:lfirst
:{cmd}
:lnfile
:{cmd}
etc.
Otherwise it works the same as :ldo.
FILTERING A QUICKFIX OR LOCATION LIST: cfilter-plugin :Cfilter :Lfilter If you have too many entries in a quickfix list, you can use the cfilter plugin to reduce the number of entries. Load the plugin with:
packadd cfilter
Then you can use the following commands to filter a quickfix/location list:
:Cfilter[!] /{pat}/
:Lfilter[!] /{pat}/
The :Cfilter command creates a new quickfix list from the entries matching {pat} in the current quickfix list. {pat} is a Vim regular-expression pattern. Both the file name and the text of the entries are matched against {pat}. If the optional ! is supplied, then the entries not matching {pat} are used. The pattern can be optionally enclosed using one of the following characters: ', ", /. If the pattern is empty, then the last used search pattern is used.
The :Lfilter command does the same as :Cfilter but operates on the current location list.
The current quickfix/location list is not modified by these commands, so you can go back to the unfiltered list using the :colder/|:lolder| command.

2. The error window quickfix-window

:cope :copen w:quickfix_title :cope[n] [height] Open a window to show the current list of errors.
When [height] is given, the window becomes that high (if there is room). When [height] is omitted the window is made ten lines high.
If there already is a quickfix window, it will be made the current window. It is not possible to open a second quickfix window. If [height] is given the existing window will be resized to it.
quickfix-buffer The window will contain a special buffer, with 'buftype' equal to "quickfix". Don't change this! The window will have the w:quickfix_title variable set which will indicate the command that produced the quickfix list. This can be used to compose a custom status line if the value of 'statusline' is adjusted properly. Whenever this buffer is modified by a quickfix command or function, the b:changedtick variable is incremented. You can get the number of this buffer using the getqflist() and getloclist() functions by passing the "qfbufnr" item. For a location list, this buffer is wiped out when the location list is removed.
:lop :lopen :lop[en] [height] Open a window to show the location list for the current window. Works only when the location list for the current window is present. You can have more than one location window opened at a time. Otherwise, it acts the same as ":copen".
:ccl :cclose :ccl[ose] Close the quickfix window.
:lcl :lclose :lcl[ose] Close the window showing the location list for the current window.
:cw :cwindow :cw[indow] [height] Open the quickfix window when there are recognized errors. If the window is already open and there are no recognized errors, close the window.
:lw :lwindow :lw[indow] [height] Same as ":cwindow", except use the window showing the location list for the current window.
:cbo :cbottom :cbo[ttom] Put the cursor in the last line of the quickfix window and scroll to make it visible. This is useful for when errors are added by an asynchronous callback. Only call it once in a while if there are many updates to avoid a lot of redrawing.
:lbo :lbottom :lbo[ttom] Same as ":cbottom", except use the window showing the location list for the current window.
Normally the quickfix window is at the bottom of the screen. If there are vertical splits, it's at the bottom of the rightmost column of windows. To make it always occupy the full width:
:botright cwindow
You can move the window around with window-moving commands. For example, to move it to the top: CTRL-W K The 'winfixheight' option will be set, which means that the window will mostly keep its height, ignoring 'winheight' and 'equalalways'. You can change the height manually (e.g., by dragging the status line above it with the mouse).
In the quickfix window, each line is one error. The line number is equal to the error number. The current entry is highlighted with the QuickFixLine highlighting. You can change it to your liking, e.g.:
:hi QuickFixLine ctermbg=Yellow guibg=Yellow
You can use ":.cc" to jump to the error under the cursor. Hitting the <Enter> key or double-clicking the mouse on a line has the same effect. The file containing the error is opened in the window above the quickfix window. If there already is a window for that file, it is used instead. If the buffer in the used window has changed, and the error is in another file, jumping to the error will fail. You will first have to make sure the window contains a buffer which can be abandoned.
When you select a file from the quickfix window, the following steps are used to find a window to edit the file:
1. If a window displaying the selected file is present in the current tabpage (starting with the window before the quickfix window), then that window is used. 2. If the above step fails and if 'switchbuf' contains "usetab" and a window displaying the selected file is present in any one of the tabpages (starting with the first tabpage) then that window is used. 3. If the above step fails then a window in the current tabpage displaying a buffer with 'buftype' not set (starting with the window before the quickfix window) is used. 4. If the above step fails and if 'switchbuf' contains "uselast", then the previously accessed window is used. 5. If the above step fails then the window before the quickfix window is used. If there is no previous window, then the window after the quickfix window is used. 6. If the above step fails, then a new horizontally split window above the quickfix window is used.
CTRL-W_<Enter> CTRL-W_<CR> You can use CTRL-W <Enter> to open a new window and jump to the error there.
When the quickfix window has been filled, two autocommand events are triggered. First the 'filetype' option is set to "qf", which triggers the FileType event (also see qf.vim). Then the BufReadPost event is triggered, using "quickfix" for the buffer name. This can be used to perform some action on the listed errors. Example:
au BufReadPost quickfix  setlocal modifiable
        \ | silent exe 'g/^/s//\=line(".") .. " "/'
        \ | setlocal nomodifiable
This prepends the line number to each line. Note the use of "\=" in the substitute string of the ":s" command, which is used to evaluate an expression. The BufWinEnter event is also triggered, again using "quickfix" for the buffer name.
Note: When adding to an existing quickfix list the autocommand are not triggered.
Note: Making changes in the quickfix window has no effect on the list of errors. 'modifiable' is off to avoid making changes. If you delete or insert lines anyway, the relation between the text and the error number is messed up. If you really want to do this, you could write the contents of the quickfix window to a file and use ":cfile" to have it parsed and used as the new error list.
location-list-window The location list window displays the entries in a location list. When you open a location list window, it is created below the current window and displays the location list for the current window. The location list window is similar to the quickfix window, except that you can have more than one location list window open at a time. When you use a location list command in this window, the displayed location list is used.
When you select a file from the location list window, the following steps are used to find a window to edit the file:
1. If a non-quickfix window associated with the location list is present in the current tabpage, then that window is used. 2. If the above step fails and if the file is already opened in another window in the current tabpage, then that window is used. 3. If the above step fails and 'switchbuf' contains "usetab" and if the file is opened in a window in any one of the tabpages, then that window is used. 4. If the above step fails then a window in the current tabpage showing a buffer with 'buftype' not set is used. 5. If the above step fails, then the file is edited in a new window.
In all of the above cases, if the location list for the selected window is not yet set, then it is set to the location list displayed in the location list window.
quickfix-window-ID You can use the getqflist() and getloclist() functions to obtain the window ID of the quickfix window and location list window respectively (if present). Examples:
echo getqflist({'winid' : 1}).winid
echo getloclist(2, {'winid' : 1}).winid
getqflist-examples The getqflist() and getloclist() functions can be used to get the various attributes of a quickfix and location list respectively. Some examples for using these functions are below:
" get the title of the current quickfix list
:echo getqflist({'title' : 0}).title

" get the identifier of the current quickfix list
:let qfid = getqflist({'id' : 0}).id

" get the identifier of the fourth quickfix list in the stack
:let qfid = getqflist({'nr' : 4, 'id' : 0}).id

" check whether a quickfix list with a specific identifier exists
:if getqflist({'id' : qfid}).id == qfid

" get the index of the current quickfix list in the stack
:let qfnum = getqflist({'nr' : 0}).nr

" get the items of a quickfix list specified by an identifier
:echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'items' : 0}).items

" get the number of entries in a quickfix list specified by an id
:echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'size' : 0}).size

" get the context of the third quickfix list in the stack
:echo getqflist({'nr' : 3, 'context' : 0}).context

" get the number of quickfix lists in the stack
:echo getqflist({'nr' : '$'}).nr

" get the number of times the current quickfix list is changed
:echo getqflist({'changedtick' : 0}).changedtick

" get the current entry in a quickfix list specified by an identifier
:echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 0}).idx

" get all the quickfix list attributes using an identifier
:echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'all' : 0})

" parse text from a List of lines and return a quickfix list
:let myList = ["a.java:10:L10", "b.java:20:L20"]
:echo getqflist({'lines' : myList}).items

" parse text using a custom 'efm' and return a quickfix list
:echo getqflist({'lines' : ['a.c#10#Line 10'], 'efm':'%f#%l#%m'}).items

" get the quickfix list window id
:echo getqflist({'winid' : 0}).winid

" get the quickfix list window buffer number
:echo getqflist({'qfbufnr' : 0}).qfbufnr

" get the context of the current location list
:echo getloclist(0, {'context' : 0}).context

" get the location list window id of the third window
:echo getloclist(3, {'winid' : 0}).winid

" get the location list window buffer number of the third window
:echo getloclist(3, {'qfbufnr' : 0}).qfbufnr

" get the file window id of a location list window (winnr: 4)
:echo getloclist(4, {'filewinid' : 0}).filewinid
setqflist-examples The setqflist() and setloclist() functions can be used to set the various attributes of a quickfix and location list respectively. Some examples for using these functions are below:
" create an empty quickfix list with a title and a context
:let t = 'Search results'
:let c = {'cmd' : 'grep'}
:call setqflist([], ' ', {'title' : t, 'context' : c})

" set the title of the current quickfix list
:call setqflist([], 'a', {'title' : 'Mytitle'})

" change the current entry in the list specified by an identifier
:call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 10})

" set the context of a quickfix list specified by an identifier
:call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'context' : {'val' : 100}})

" create a new quickfix list from a command output
:call setqflist([], ' ', {'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn main *.c')})

" parse text using a custom efm and add to a particular quickfix list
:call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid,
            \ 'lines' : ["a.c#10#L10", "b.c#20#L20"], 'efm':'%f#%l#%m'})

" add items to the quickfix list specified by an identifier
:let newItems = [{'filename' : 'a.txt', 'lnum' : 10, 'text' : "Apple"},
                \ {'filename' : 'b.txt', 'lnum' : 20, 'text' : "Orange"}]
:call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'items' : newItems})

" empty a quickfix list specified by an identifier
:call setqflist([], 'r', {'id' : qfid, 'items' : []})

" free all the quickfix lists in the stack
:call setqflist([], 'f')

" set the title of the fourth quickfix list
:call setqflist([], 'a', {'nr' : 4, 'title' : 'SomeTitle'})

" create a new quickfix list at the end of the stack
:call setqflist([], ' ', {'nr' : '$',
                    \ 'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn class *.java')})

" create a new location list from a command output
:call setloclist(0, [], ' ', {'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn main *.c')})

" replace the location list entries for the third window
:call setloclist(3, [], 'r', {'items' : newItems})

3. Using more than one list of errors quickfix-error-lists

So far has been assumed that there is only one list of errors. Actually the ten last used lists are remembered. When starting a new list, the previous ones are automatically kept. Two commands can be used to access older error lists. They set one of the existing error lists as the current one.
:colder :col E380 :col[der] [count] Go to older error list. When [count] is given, do this [count] times. When already at the oldest error list, an error message is given.
:lolder :lol :lol[der] [count] Same as :colder, except use the location list for the current window instead of the quickfix list.
:cnewer :cnew E381 :cnew[er] [count] Go to newer error list. When [count] is given, do this [count] times. When already at the newest error list, an error message is given.
:lnewer :lnew :lnew[er] [count] Same as :cnewer, except use the location list for the current window instead of the quickfix list.
:chistory :chi :[count]chi[story] Show the list of error lists. The current list is marked with ">". The output looks like:
error list 1 of 3; 43 errors :make
> error list 2 of 3; 0 errors :helpgrep tag
error list 3 of 3; 15 errors :grep ex_help.c
When [count] is given, then the count'th quickfix list is made the current list. Example:
" Make the 4th quickfix list current
:4chistory
:lhistory :lhi :[count]lhi[story] Show the list of location lists, otherwise like :chistory.
When adding a new error list, it becomes the current list.
When ":colder" has been used and ":make" or ":grep" is used to add a new error list, one newer list is overwritten. This is especially useful if you are browsing with ":grep" grep. If you want to keep the more recent error lists, use ":cnewer 99" first.
To get the number of lists in the quickfix and location list stack, you can use the getqflist() and getloclist() functions respectively with the list number set to the special value '$'. Examples:
echo getqflist({'nr' : '$'}).nr
echo getloclist(3, {'nr' : '$'}).nr
To get the number of the current list in the stack:
echo getqflist({'nr' : 0}).nr

4. Using :make :make_makeprg

:mak :make :mak[e][!] [arguments] 1. All relevant QuickFixCmdPre autocommands are executed. 2. If the 'autowrite' option is on, write any changed buffers 3. An errorfile name is made from 'makeef'. If 'makeef' doesn't contain "##", and a file with this name already exists, it is deleted. 4. The program given with the 'makeprg' option is started (default "make") with the optional [arguments] and the output is saved in the errorfile (for Unix it is also echoed on the screen). 5. The errorfile is read using 'errorformat'. 6. All relevant QuickFixCmdPost autocommands are executed. See example below. 7. If [!] is not given the first error is jumped to. 8. The errorfile is deleted. 9. You can now move through the errors with commands like :cnext and :cprevious, see above. This command does not accept a comment, any " characters are considered part of the arguments. If the encoding of the program output differs from the 'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding' option to specify the encoding.
:lmak :lmake :lmak[e][!] [arguments] Same as ":make", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
The ":make" command executes the command given with the 'makeprg' option. This is done by passing the command to the shell given with the 'shell' option. This works almost like typing
":!{makeprg} [arguments] {shellpipe} {errorfile}".
{makeprg} is the string given with the 'makeprg' option. Any command can be used, not just "make". Characters '%' and '#' are expanded as usual on a command-line. You can use "%<" to insert the current file name without extension, or "#<" to insert the alternate file name without extension, for example:
:set makeprg=make\ #<.o
[arguments] is anything that is typed after ":make". {shellpipe} is the 'shellpipe' option. {errorfile} is the 'makeef' option, with ## replaced to make it unique.
The placeholder "$*" can be used for the argument list in {makeprg} if the command needs some additional characters after its arguments. The $* is replaced then by all arguments. Example:
:set makeprg=latex\ \\\\nonstopmode\ \\\\input\\{$*}
or simpler
:let &mp = 'latex \\nonstopmode \\input\{$*}'
"$*" can be given multiple times, for example:
:set makeprg=gcc\ -o\ $*\ $*
The 'shellpipe' option defaults to ">%s 2>&1" for Win32. This means that the output of the compiler is saved in a file and not shown on the screen directly. For Unix "| tee" is used. The compiler output is shown on the screen and saved in a file the same time. Depending on the shell used "|& tee" or "2>&1| tee" is the default, so stderr output will be included.
If 'shellpipe' is empty, the {errorfile} part will be omitted. This is useful for compilers that write to an errorfile themselves.
Using QuickFixCmdPost to fix the encoding
It may be that 'encoding' is set to an encoding that differs from the messages your build program produces. This example shows how to fix this after Vim has read the error messages:
function QfMakeConv()
   let qflist = getqflist()
   for i in qflist
      let i.text = iconv(i.text, "cp936", "utf-8")
   endfor
   call setqflist(qflist)
endfunction

au QuickfixCmdPost make call QfMakeConv()
(Example by Faque Cheng) Another option is using 'makeencoding'.

5. Using :vimgrep and :grep grep lid

Vim has two ways to find matches for a pattern: Internal and external. The advantage of the internal grep is that it works on all systems and uses the powerful Vim search patterns. An external grep program can be used when the Vim grep does not do what you want.
The internal method will be slower, because files are read into memory. The advantages are:
Line separators and encoding are automatically recognized, as if a file is being edited.
Uses Vim search patterns. Multi-line patterns can be used.
When plugins are enabled: compressed and remote files can be searched. gzip netrw
To be able to do this Vim loads each file as if it is being edited. When there is no match in the file the associated buffer is wiped out again. The 'hidden' option is ignored here to avoid running out of memory or file descriptors when searching many files. However, when the :hide command modifier is used the buffers are kept loaded. This makes following searches in the same files a lot faster.
Note that :copen (or :lopen for :lgrep) may be used to open a buffer containing the search results in linked form. The :silent command may be used to suppress the default full screen grep output. The ":grep!" form of the :grep command doesn't jump to the first match automatically. These commands can be combined to create a NewGrep command:
command! -nargs=+ NewGrep execute 'silent grep! <args>' | copen 42
5.1 using Vim's internal grep
:vim :vimgrep E682 E683 :vim[grep][!] /{pattern}/[g][j][f] {file} ... Search for {pattern} in the files {file} ... and set the error list to the matches. Files matching 'wildignore' are ignored; files in 'suffixes' are searched last.
{pattern} is a Vim search pattern. Instead of enclosing it in / any non-ID character (see 'isident') can be used, so long as it does not appear in {pattern}. 'ignorecase' applies. To overrule it put /\c in the pattern to ignore case or /\C to match case. 'smartcase' is not used. If {pattern} is empty (e.g. // is specified), the last used search pattern is used. last-pattern
Flags: 'g' Without the 'g' flag each line is added only once. With 'g' every match is added.
'j' Without the 'j' flag Vim jumps to the first match. With 'j' only the quickfix list is updated. With the [!] any changes in the current buffer are abandoned.
'f' When the 'f' flag is specified, fuzzy string matching is used to find matching lines. In this case, {pattern} is treated as a literal string instead of a regular expression. See fuzzy-matching for more information about fuzzy matching strings.
QuickFixCmdPre and QuickFixCmdPost are triggered. A file that is opened for matching may use a buffer number, but it is reused if possible to avoid consuming buffer numbers.
:{count}vim[grep] ... When a number is put before the command this is used as the maximum number of matches to find. Use ":1vimgrep pattern file" to find only the first. Useful if you only want to check if there is a match and quit quickly when it's found.
Every second or so the searched file name is displayed to give you an idea of the progress made. Examples:
:vimgrep /an error/ *.c
:vimgrep /\<FileName\>/ *.h include/*
:vimgrep /myfunc/ **/*.c
For the use of "**" see starstar-wildcard.
:vim[grep][!] {pattern} {file} ... Like above, but instead of enclosing the pattern in a non-ID character use a white-separated pattern. The pattern must start with an ID character. Example:
:vimgrep Error *.c
:lv :lvimgrep :lv[imgrep][!] /{pattern}/[g][j][f] {file} ... :lv[imgrep][!] {pattern} {file} ... Same as ":vimgrep", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:vimgrepa :vimgrepadd :vimgrepa[dd][!] /{pattern}/[g][j][f] {file} ... :vimgrepa[dd][!] {pattern} {file} ... Just like ":vimgrep", but instead of making a new list of errors the matches are appended to the current list.
:lvimgrepa :lvimgrepadd :lvimgrepa[dd][!] /{pattern}/[g][j][f] {file} ... :lvimgrepa[dd][!] {pattern} {file} ... Same as ":vimgrepadd", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
5.2 External grep
Vim can interface with "grep" and grep-like programs (such as the GNU id-utils) in a similar way to its compiler integration (see :make above).
[Unix trivia: The name for the Unix "grep" command comes from ":g/re/p", where "re" stands for Regular Expression.]
:gr :grep :gr[ep][!] [arguments] Just like ":make", but use 'grepprg' instead of 'makeprg' and 'grepformat' instead of 'errorformat'. When 'grepprg' is "internal" this works like :vimgrep. Note that the pattern needs to be enclosed in separator characters then. If the encoding of the program output differs from the 'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding' option to specify the encoding.
:lgr :lgrep :lgr[ep][!] [arguments] Same as ":grep", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
:grepa :grepadd :grepa[dd][!] [arguments] Just like ":grep", but instead of making a new list of errors the matches are appended to the current list. Example:
:call setqflist([])
:bufdo grepadd! something %
The first command makes a new error list which is empty. The second command executes "grepadd" for each listed buffer. Note the use of ! to avoid that ":grepadd" jumps to the first error, which is not allowed with :bufdo. An example that uses the argument list and avoids errors for files without matches:
:silent argdo try
  \ | grepadd! something %
  \ | catch /E480:/
  \ | endtry"
If the encoding of the program output differs from the 'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding' option to specify the encoding.
:lgrepa :lgrepadd :lgrepa[dd][!] [arguments] Same as ":grepadd", except the location list for the current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
5.3 Setting up external grep
If you have a standard "grep" program installed, the :grep command may work well with the defaults. The syntax is very similar to the standard command:
:grep foo *.c
Will search all files with the .c extension for the substring "foo". The arguments to :grep are passed straight to the "grep" program, so you can use whatever options your "grep" supports.
By default, :grep invokes grep with the -n option (show file and line numbers). You can change this with the 'grepprg' option. You will need to set 'grepprg' if:
a) You are using a program that isn't called "grep" b) You have to call grep with a full path c) You want to pass other options automatically (e.g. case insensitive search.)
Once "grep" has executed, Vim parses the results using the 'grepformat' option. This option works in the same way as the 'errorformat' option - see that for details. You may need to change 'grepformat' from the default if your grep outputs in a non-standard format, or you are using some other program with a special format.
Once the results are parsed, Vim loads the first file containing a match and jumps to the appropriate line, in the same way that it jumps to a compiler error in quickfix mode. You can then use the :cnext, :clist, etc. commands to see the other matches.
5.4 Using :grep with id-utils
You can set up :grep to work with the GNU id-utils like this:
:set grepprg=lid\ -Rgrep\ -s
:set grepformat=%f:%l:%m
then
:grep (regexp)
works just as you'd expect. (provided you remembered to mkid first :)
5.5 Browsing source code with :vimgrep or :grep
Using the stack of error lists that Vim keeps, you can browse your files to look for functions and the functions they call. For example, suppose that you have to add an argument to the read_file() function. You enter this command:
:vimgrep /\<read_file\>/ *.c
You use ":cn" to go along the list of matches and add the argument. At one place you have to get the new argument from a higher level function msg(), and need to change that one too. Thus you use:
:vimgrep /\<msg\>/ *.c
While changing the msg() functions, you find another function that needs to get the argument from a higher level. You can again use ":vimgrep" to find these functions. Once you are finished with one function, you can use
:colder
to go back to the previous one.
This works like browsing a tree: ":vimgrep" goes one level deeper, creating a list of branches. ":colder" goes back to the previous level. You can mix this use of ":vimgrep" and "colder" to browse all the locations in a tree-like way. If you do this consistently, you will find all locations without the need to write down a "todo" list.

6. Selecting a compiler compiler-select

:comp :compiler E666 :comp[iler][!] {name} Set options to work with compiler {name}. Without the "!" options are set for the current buffer. With "!" global options are set. If you use ":compiler foo" in "file.foo" and then ":compiler! bar" in another buffer, Vim will keep on using "foo" in "file.foo".
The Vim plugins in the "compiler" directory will set options to use the selected compiler. For :compiler local options are set, for :compiler! global options. current_compiler To support older Vim versions, the plugins always use "current_compiler" and not "b:current_compiler". What the command actually does is the following:
Delete the "current_compiler" and "b:current_compiler" variables.
Define the "CompilerSet" user command. With "!" it does ":set", without "!" it does ":setlocal".
Execute ":runtime! compiler/{name}.(vim|lua)". The plugins are expected to set options with "CompilerSet" and set the "current_compiler" variable to the name of the compiler.
Delete the "CompilerSet" user command.
Set "b:current_compiler" to the value of "current_compiler".
Without "!" the old value of "current_compiler" is restored.
For writing a compiler plugin, see write-compiler-plugin.

GCC quickfix-gcc compiler-gcc

There's one variable you can set for the GCC compiler:
g:compiler_gcc_ignore_unmatched_lines Ignore lines that don't match any patterns defined for GCC. Useful if output from commands run from make are generating false positives.

PERL quickfix-perl compiler-perl

The Perl compiler plugin doesn't actually compile, but invokes Perl's internal syntax checking feature and parses the output for possible errors so you can correct them in quick-fix mode.
Warnings are forced regardless of "no warnings" or "$^W = 0" within the file being checked. To disable this set g:perl_compiler_force_warnings to a zero value. For example:
let g:perl_compiler_force_warnings = 0

PYUNIT COMPILER compiler-pyunit

This is not actually a compiler, but a unit testing framework for the Python language. It is included into standard Python distribution starting from version 2.0. For older versions, you can get it from https://pyunit.sourceforge.net.
When you run your tests with the help of the framework, possible errors are parsed by Vim and presented for you in quick-fix mode.
Unfortunately, there is no standard way to run the tests. The alltests.py script seems to be used quite often, that's all. Useful values for the 'makeprg' options therefore are: setlocal makeprg=./alltests.py " Run a testsuite setlocal makeprg=python\ %:S " Run a single testcase

TEX COMPILER compiler-tex

Included in the distribution compiler for TeX ($VIMRUNTIME/compiler/tex.vim) uses make command if possible. If the compiler finds a file named "Makefile" or "makefile" in the current directory, it supposes that you want to process yourTeX files with make, and the makefile does the right work. In this case compiler sets 'errorformat' forTeX output and leaves 'makeprg' untouched. If neither "Makefile" nor "makefile" is found, the compiler will not use make. You can force the compiler to ignore makefiles by defining b:tex_ignore_makefile or g:tex_ignore_makefile variable (they are checked for existence only).
If the compiler chose not to use make, it needs to choose a right program for processing your input. If b:tex_flavor or g:tex_flavor (in this precedence) variable exists, it defines TeX flavor for :make (actually, this is the name of executed command), and if both variables do not exist, it defaults to "latex". For example, while editing chapter2.tex \input-ed from mypaper.tex written in AMS-TeX:
:let b:tex_flavor = 'amstex'
:compiler tex
[editing...]
:make mypaper
Note that you must specify a name of the file to process as an argument (to process the right file when editing \input-ed or \include-ed file; portable solution for substituting % for no arguments is welcome). This is not in the semantics of make, where you specify a target, not source, but you may specify filename without extension ".tex" and mean this as "make filename.dvi or filename.pdf or filename.some_result_extension according to compiler".
Note: tex command line syntax is set to usable both for MikTeX (suggestion by Srinath Avadhanula) and teTeX (checked by Artem Chuprina). Suggestion from errorformat-LaTeX is too complex to keep it working for different shells and OSes and also does not allow to use other available TeX options, if any. If your TeX doesn't support "-interaction=nonstopmode", please report it with different means to express \nonstopmode from the command line.

7. The error format error-file-format

errorformat E372 E373 E374 E375 E376 E377 E378 The 'errorformat' option specifies a list of formats that are recognized. The first format that matches with an error message is used. You can add several formats for different messages your compiler produces, or even entries for multiple compilers. See efm-entries.
Each entry in 'errorformat' is a scanf-like string that describes the format. First, you need to know how scanf works. Look in the documentation of your C compiler. Below you find the % items that Vim understands. Others are invalid.
Special characters in 'errorformat' are comma and backslash. See efm-entries for how to deal with them. Note that a literal "%" is matched by "%%", thus it is not escaped with a backslash. Keep in mind that in the :make and :grep output all NUL characters are replaced with SOH (0x01).
Note: By default the difference between upper and lowercase is ignored. If you want to match case, add "\C" to the pattern /\C.
Vim will read lines of any length, but only the first 4095 bytes are used, the rest is ignored. Items can only be 1023 bytes long.
Basic items
%f file name (finds a string) %o module name (finds a string) %l line number (finds a number) %e end line number (finds a number) %c column number (finds a number representing character column of the error, byte index, a <tab> is 1 character column) %v virtual column number (finds a number representing screen column of the error (1 <tab> == 8 screen columns)) %k end column number (finds a number representing the character column of the error, byte index, or a number representing screen end column of the error if it's used with %v) %t error type (finds a single character): e - error message w - warning message i - info message n - note message %n error number (finds a number) %m error message (finds a string) %r matches the "rest" of a single-line file message %O/P/Q %p pointer line (finds a sequence of '-', '.', ' ' or tabs and uses the length for the column number) %*{conv} any scanf non-assignable conversion %% the single '%' character %s search text (finds a string)
The "%f" conversion may depend on the current 'isfname' setting. "~/" is expanded to the home directory and environment variables are expanded.
The "%f" and "%m" conversions have to detect the end of the string. This normally happens by matching following characters and items. When nothing is following the rest of the line is matched. If "%f" is followed by a '%' or a backslash, it will look for a sequence of 'isfname' characters.
On Windows a leading "C:" will be included in "%f", even when using "%f:". This means that a file name which is a single alphabetical letter will not be detected.
The "%p" conversion is normally followed by a "^". It's used for compilers that output a line like:
^
or
---------^
to indicate the column of the error. This is to be used in a multi-line error message. See errorformat-javac for a useful example.
The "%s" conversion specifies the text to search for, to locate the error line. The text is used as a literal string. The anchors "^" and "$" are added to the text to locate the error line exactly matching the search text and the text is prefixed with the "\V" atom to make it "very nomagic". The "%s" conversion can be used to locate lines without a line number in the error output. Like the output of the "grep" shell command. When the pattern is present the line number will not be used.
The "%o" conversion specifies the module name in quickfix entry. If present it will be used in quickfix error window instead of the filename. The module name is used only for displaying purposes, the file name is used when jumping to the file.
Changing directory
The following uppercase conversion characters specify the type of special format strings. At most one of them may be given as a prefix at the beginning of a single comma-separated format pattern. Some compilers produce messages that consist of directory names that have to be prepended to each file name read by %f (example: GNU make). The following codes can be used to scan these directory names; they will be stored in an internal directory stack. E379 %D "enter directory" format string; expects a following %f that finds the directory name %X "leave directory" format string; expects following %f
When defining an "enter directory" or "leave directory" format, the "%D" or "%X" has to be given at the start of that substring. Vim tracks the directory changes and prepends the current directory to each erroneous file found with a relative path. See quickfix-directory-stack for details, tips and limitations.
Multi-line messages errorformat-multi-line
It is possible to read the output of programs that produce multi-line messages, i.e. error strings that consume more than one line. Possible prefixes are: %E start of a multi-line error message %W start of a multi-line warning message %I start of a multi-line informational message %N start of a multi-line note message %A start of a multi-line message (unspecified type) %> for next line start with current pattern again efm-%> %C continuation of a multi-line message %Z end of a multi-line message These can be used with '+' and '-', see efm-ignore below.
Using "\n" in the pattern won't work to match multi-line messages.
Example: Your compiler happens to write out errors in the following format (leading line numbers not being part of the actual output):
1 Error 275
2 line 42
3 column 3
4 ' ' expected after '--'
The appropriate error format string has to look like this:
:set efm=%EError\ %n,%Cline\ %l,%Ccolumn\ %c,%Z%m
And the :clist error message generated for this error is:
1:42 col 3 error 275: ' ' expected after '--'
Another example: Think of a Python interpreter that produces the following error message (line numbers are not part of the actual output):
1 ============================================================== 2 FAIL: testGetTypeIdCachesResult (dbfacadeTest.DjsDBFacadeTest) 3 -------------------------------------------------------------- 4 Traceback (most recent call last): 5 File "unittests/dbfacadeTest.py", line 89, in testFoo 6 self.assertEquals(34, dtid) 7 File "/usr/lib/python3.8/unittest.py", line 286, in 8 failUnlessEqual 9 raise self.failureException, \ 10 AssertionError: 34 != 33 11 12 -------------------------------------------------------------- 13 Ran 27 tests in 0.063s
Say you want :clist write the relevant information of this message only, namely: 5 unittests/dbfacadeTest.py:89: AssertionError: 34 != 33
Then the error format string could be defined as follows:
:set efm=%C\ %.%#,%A\ \ File\ \"%f\"\\,\ line\ %l%.%#,%Z%[%^\ ]%\\@=%m
Note that the %C string is given before the %A here: since the expression ' %.%#' (which stands for the regular expression ' .*') matches every line starting with a space, followed by any characters to the end of the line, it also hides line 7 which would trigger a separate error message otherwise. Error format strings are always parsed pattern by pattern until the first match occurs. efm-%> The %> item can be used to avoid trying patterns that appear earlier in 'errorformat'. This is useful for patterns that match just about anything. For example, if the error looks like this:
Error in line 123 of foo.c:
unknown variable "i"
This can be found with:
:set efm=xxx,%E%>Error in line %l of %f:,%Z%m
Where "xxx" has a pattern that would also match the second line.
Important: There is no memory of what part of the errorformat matched before; every line in the error file gets a complete new run through the error format lines. For example, if one has:
setlocal efm=aa,bb,cc,dd,ee
Where aa, bb, etc. are error format strings. Each line of the error file will be matched to the pattern aa, then bb, then cc, etc. Just because cc matched the previous error line does _not_ mean that dd will be tried first on the current line, even if cc and dd are multi-line errorformat strings.
Separate file name errorformat-separate-filename
These prefixes are useful if the file name is given once and multiple messages follow that refer to this file name. %O single-line file message: overread the matched part %P single-line file message: push file %f onto the stack %Q single-line file message: pop the last file from stack
Example: Given a compiler that produces the following error logfile (without leading line numbers):
1 [a1.tt] 2 (1,17) error: ';' missing 3 (21,2) warning: variable 'z' not defined 4 (67,3) error: end of file found before string ended 5 6 [a2.tt] 7 8 [a3.tt] 9 NEW compiler v1.1 10 (2,2) warning: variable 'x' not defined 11 (67,3) warning: 's' already defined
This logfile lists several messages for each file enclosed in [...] which are properly parsed by an error format like this:
:set efm=%+P[%f],(%l\\,%c)%*[\ ]%t%*[^:]:\ %m,%-Q
A call of :clist writes them accordingly with their correct filenames:
2 a1.tt:1 col 17 error: ';' missing 3 a1.tt:21 col 2 warning: variable 'z' not defined 4 a1.tt:67 col 3 error: end of file found before string ended 8 a3.tt:2 col 2 warning: variable 'x' not defined 9 a3.tt:67 col 3 warning: 's' already defined
Unlike the other prefixes that all match against whole lines, %P, %Q and %O can be used to match several patterns in the same line. Thus it is possible to parse even nested files like in the following line: {"file1" {"file2" error1} error2 {"file3" error3 {"file4" error4 error5}}} The %O then parses over strings that do not contain any push/pop file name information. See errorformat-LaTeX for an extended example.
Ignoring and using whole messages efm-ignore
The codes '+' or '-' can be combined with the uppercase codes above; in that case they have to precede the letter, e.g. '%+A' or '%-G': %- do not include the matching multi-line in any output %+ include the whole matching line in the %m error string
One prefix is only useful in combination with '+' or '-', namely %G. It parses over lines containing general information like compiler version strings or other headers that can be skipped. %-G ignore this message %+G general message
Pattern matching
The scanf()-like "%*[]" notation is supported for backward-compatibility with previous versions of Vim. However, it is also possible to specify (nearly) any Vim supported regular expression in format strings. Since meta characters of the regular expression language can be part of ordinary matching strings or file names (and therefore internally have to be escaped), meta symbols have to be written with leading '%': %\ The single '\' character. Note that this has to be escaped ("%\\") in ":set errorformat=" definitions. %. The single '.' character. %# The single ''(!) character. %^ The single '^' character. Note that this is not useful, the pattern already matches start of line. %$ The single '$' character. Note that this is not useful, the pattern already matches end of line. %[ The single '[' character for a [] character range. %~ The single '~' character. When using character classes in expressions (see /\i for an overview), terms containing the "\+" quantifier can be written in the scanf() "%*" notation. Example: "%\\d%\\+" ("\d\+", "any number") is equivalent to "%*\\d". Important note: The \(...\) grouping of sub-matches can not be used in format specifications because it is reserved for internal conversions.
Multiple entries in 'errorformat' efm-entries
To be able to detect output from several compilers, several format patterns may be put in 'errorformat', separated by commas (note: blanks after the comma are ignored). The first pattern that has a complete match is used. If no match is found, matching parts from the last one will be used, although the file name is removed and the error message is set to the whole message. If there is a pattern that may match output from several compilers (but not in a right way), put it after one that is more restrictive.
To include a comma in a pattern precede it with a backslash (you have to type two in a ":set" command). To include a backslash itself give two backslashes (you have to type four in a ":set" command). You also need to put a backslash before a space for ":set".
Valid matches quickfix-valid
If a line does not completely match one of the entries in 'errorformat', the whole line is put in the error message and the entry is marked "not valid" These lines are skipped with the ":cn" and ":cp" commands (unless there is no valid line at all). You can use ":cl!" to display all the error messages.
If the error format does not contain a file name Vim cannot switch to the correct file. You will have to do this by hand.
For example, the format of the output from the Amiga Aztec compiler is:
filename>linenumber:columnnumber:errortype:errornumber:errormessage
filename name of the file in which the error was detected linenumber line number where the error was detected columnnumber column number where the error was detected errortype type of the error, normally a single 'E' or 'W' errornumber number of the error (for lookup in the manual) errormessage description of the error
This can be matched with this 'errorformat' entry: %f>%l:%c:%t:%n:%m
Some examples for C compilers that produce single-line error outputs: %f:%l:\ %t%*[^0123456789]%n:\ %m for Manx/Aztec C error messages (scanf() doesn't understand [0-9]) %f\ %l\ %t%*[^0-9]%n:\ %m for SAS C \"%f\"\\,%*[^0-9]%l:\ %m for generic C compilers %f:%l:\ %m for GCC %f:%l:\ %m,%Dgmake[%*\\d]:\ Entering\ directory\%f', %Dgmake[%*\\d]:\ Leaving\ directory\%f' for GCC with gmake (concat the lines!) %f(%l)\ :\ %*[^:]:\ %m old SCO C compiler (pre-OS5) %f(%l)\ :\ %t%*[^0-9]%n:\ %m idem, with error type and number %f:%l:\ %m,In\ file\ included\ from\ %f:%l:,\^I\^Ifrom\ %f:%l%m for GCC, with some extras
Extended examples for the handling of multi-line messages are given below, see errorformat-Jikes and errorformat-LaTeX.
Note the backslash in front of a space and double quote. It is required for the :set command. There are two backslashes in front of a comma, one for the :set command and one to avoid recognizing the comma as a separator of error formats.
Filtering messages
If you have a compiler that produces error messages that do not fit in the format string, you could write a program that translates the error messages into this format. You can use this program with the ":make" command by changing the 'makeprg' option. For example:
:set mp=make\ \\\|&\ error_filter
The backslashes before the pipe character are required to avoid it to be recognized as a command separator. The backslash before each space is required for the set command.

8. The directory stack quickfix-directory-stack

Quickfix maintains a stack for saving all used directories parsed from the make output. For GNU-make this is rather simple, as it always prints the absolute path of all directories it enters and leaves. Regardless if this is done via a 'cd' command in the makefile or with the parameter "-C dir" (change to directory before reading the makefile). It may be useful to use the switch "-w" to force GNU-make to print out the working directory before and after processing.
Maintaining the correct directory is more complicated if you don't use GNU-make. AIX-make for example doesn't print any information about its working directory. Then you need to enhance the makefile. In the makefile of LessTif there is a command which echoes "Making {target} in {dir}". The special problem here is that it doesn't print information on leaving the directory and that it doesn't print the absolute path.
To solve the problem with relative paths and missing "leave directory" messages Vim uses the following algorithm:
1) Check if the given directory is a subdirectory of the current directory. If this is true, store it as the current directory. 2) If it is not a subdir of the current directory, try if this is a subdirectory of one of the upper directories. 3) If the directory still isn't found, it is assumed to be a subdirectory of Vim's current directory.
Additionally it is checked for every file, if it really exists in the identified directory. If not, it is searched in all other directories of the directory stack (NOT the directory subtree!). If it is still not found, it is assumed that it is in Vim's current directory.
There are limitations in this algorithm. These examples assume that make just prints information about entering a directory in the form "Making all in dir".
1) Assume you have following directories and files: ./dir1 ./dir1/file1.c ./file1.c
If make processes the directory "./dir1" before the current directory and there is an error in the file "./file1.c", you will end up with the file "./dir1/file.c" loaded by Vim.
This can only be solved with a "leave directory" message.
2) Assume you have following directories and files: ./dir1 ./dir1/dir2 ./dir2
You get the following:
Make output Directory interpreted by Vim ------------------------ ---------------------------- Making all in dir1 ./dir1 Making all in dir2 ./dir1/dir2 Making all in dir2 ./dir1/dir2
This can be solved by printing absolute directories in the "enter directory" message or by printing "leave directory" messages.
To avoid this problem, ensure to print absolute directory names and "leave directory" messages.
Examples for Makefiles:
Unix: libs: for dn in $(LIBDIRS); do \ (cd $$dn; echo "Entering dir '$$(pwd)'"; make); \ echo "Leaving dir"; \ done
Add %DEntering\ dir\ '%f',%XLeaving\ dir to your 'errorformat' to handle the above output.
Note that Vim doesn't check if the directory name in a "leave directory" messages is the current directory. This is why you could just use the message "Leaving dir".

9. Specific error file formats errorformats

errorformat-Jikes Jikes(TM), a source-to-bytecode Java compiler published by IBM Research, produces simple multi-line error messages.
An 'errorformat' string matching the produced messages is shown below. The following lines can be placed in the user's init.vim to overwrite Vim's recognized default formats, or see :set+= how to install this format additionally to the default.
:set efm=%A%f:%l:%c:%*\\d:%*\\d:,
      \%C%*\\s%trror:%m,
      \%+C%*[^:]%trror:%m,
      \%C%*\\s%tarning:%m,
      \%C%m
Jikes(TM) produces a single-line error message when invoked with the option "+E", and can be matched with the following:
:setl efm=%f:%l:%v:%*\\d:%*\\d:%*\\s%m
errorformat-javac This 'errorformat' has been reported to work well for javac, which outputs a line with "^" to indicate the column of the error:
:setl efm=%A%f:%l:\ %m,%-Z%p^,%-C%.%#
or:
:setl efm=%A%f:%l:\ %m,%+Z%p^,%+C%.%#,%-G%.%#
Here is an alternative from Michael F. Lamb for Unix that filters the errors first:
:setl errorformat=%Z%f:%l:\ %m,%A%p^,%-G%*[^sl]%.%#
:setl makeprg=javac\ %:S\ 2>&1\ \\\|\ vim-javac-filter
You need to put the following in "vim-javac-filter" somewhere in your path (e.g., in ~/bin) and make it executable:
#!/bin/sed -f
/\^$/s/\t/\ /g;/:[0-9]\+:/{h;d};/^[ \t]*\^/G;
In English, that sed script:
Changes single tabs to single spaces and
Moves the line with the filename, line number, error message to just after the pointer line. That way, the unused error text between doesn't break vim's notion of a "multi-line message" and also doesn't force us to include it as a "continuation of a multi-line message."
errorformat-ant For ant (https://jakarta.apache.org/) the above errorformat has to be modified to honour the leading [javac] in front of each javac output line:
:set efm=%A\ %#[javac]\ %f:%l:\ %m,%-Z\ %#[javac]\ %p^,%-C%.%#
The 'errorformat' can also be configured to handle ant together with either javac or jikes. If you're using jikes, you should tell ant to use jikes' +E command line switch which forces jikes to generate one-line error messages. This is what the second line (of a build.xml file) below does:
<property name = "build.compiler"       value = "jikes"/>
<property name = "build.compiler.emacs" value = "true"/>
The 'errorformat' which handles ant with both javac and jikes is:
:set efm=\ %#[javac]\ %#%f:%l:%c:%*\\d:%*\\d:\ %t%[%^:]%#:%m,
         \%A\ %#[javac]\ %f:%l:\ %m,%-Z\ %#[javac]\ %p^,%-C%.%#
errorformat-jade parsing jade (see http://www.jclark.com/) errors is simple:
:set efm=jade:%f:%l:%c:%t:%m
errorformat-LaTeX The following is an example how an 'errorformat' string can be specified for the (La)TeX typesetting system which displays error messages over multiple lines. The output of ":clist" and ":cc" etc. commands displays multi-lines in a single line, leading white space is removed. It should be easy to adopt the above LaTeX errorformat to any compiler output consisting of multi-line errors.
The commands can be placed in a vimrc file or some other Vim script file, e.g. a script containing LaTeX related stuff which is loaded only when editing LaTeX sources. Make sure to copy all lines of the example (in the given order), afterwards remove the comment lines. For the '\' notation at the start of some lines see line-continuation.
First prepare 'makeprg' such that LaTeX will report multiple errors; do not stop when the first error has occurred:
:set makeprg=latex\ \\\\nonstopmode\ \\\\input\\{$*}
Start of multi-line error messages:
:set efm=%E!\ LaTeX\ %trror:\ %m,
       \%E!\ %m,
Start of multi-line warning messages; the first two also include the line number. Meaning of some regular expressions:
"%.%#" (".*") matches a (possibly empty) string
"%*\\d" ("\d\+") matches a number
\%+WLaTeX\ %.%#Warning:\ %.%#line\ %l%.%#,
\%+W%.%#\ at\ lines\ %l--%*\\d,
\%WLaTeX\ %.%#Warning:\ %m,
Possible continuations of error/warning messages; the first one also includes the line number:
\%Cl.%l\ %m,
\%+C\ \ %m.,
\%+C%.%#-%.%#,
\%+C%.%#[]%.%#,
\%+C[]%.%#,
\%+C%.%#%[{}\\]%.%#,
\%+C<%.%#>%.%#,
\%C\ \ %m,
Lines that match the following patterns do not contain any important information; do not include them in messages:
\%-GSee\ the\ LaTeX%m,
\%-GType\ \ H\ <return>%m,
\%-G\ ...%.%#,
\%-G%.%#\ (C)\ %.%#,
\%-G(see\ the\ transcript%.%#),
Generally exclude any empty or whitespace-only line from being displayed:
\%-G\\s%#,
The LaTeX output log does not specify the names of erroneous source files per line; rather they are given globally, enclosed in parentheses. The following patterns try to match these names and store them in an internal stack. The patterns possibly scan over the same input line (one after another), the trailing "%r" conversion indicates the "rest" of the line that will be parsed in the next go until the end of line is reached.
Overread a file name enclosed in '('...')'; do not push it on a stack since the file apparently does not contain any error:
\%+O(%f)%r,
Push a file name onto the stack. The name is given after '(':
\%+P(%f%r,
\%+P\ %\\=(%f%r,
\%+P%*[^()](%f%r,
\%+P[%\\d%[^()]%#(%f%r,
Pop the last stored file name when a ')' is scanned:
\%+Q)%r,
\%+Q%*[^()])%r,
\%+Q[%\\d%*[^()])%r
Note that in some cases file names in the LaTeX output log cannot be parsed properly. The parser might have been messed up by unbalanced parentheses then. The above example tries to catch the most relevant cases only. You can customize the given setting to suit your own purposes, for example, all the annoying "Overfull ..." warnings could be excluded from being recognized as an error. Alternatively to filtering the LaTeX compiler output, it is also possible to directly read the.log file that is produced by the [La]TeX compiler. This contains even more useful information about possible error causes. However, to properly parse such a complex file, an external filter should be used. See the description further above how to make such a filter known by Vim.

10. Customizing the quickfix window quickfix-window-function

The default format for the lines displayed in the quickfix window and location list window is:
<filename><lnum>col <col><text>
The values displayed in each line correspond to the "bufnr", "lnum", "col" and "text" fields returned by the getqflist() function.
For some quickfix/location lists, the displayed text needs to be customized. For example, if only the filename is present for a quickfix entry, then the two "|" field separator characters after the filename are not needed. Another use case is to customize the path displayed for a filename. By default, the complete path (which may be too long) is displayed for files which are not under the current directory tree. The file path may need to be simplified to a common parent directory.
The displayed text can be customized by setting the 'quickfixtextfunc' option to a Vim function. This function will be called with a dict argument and should return a List of strings to be displayed in the quickfix or location list window. The dict argument will have the following fields:
quickfix set to 1 when called for a quickfix list and 0 when called for a location list. winid for a location list, set to the id of the window with the location list. For a quickfix list, set to 0. Can be used in getloclist() to get the location list entry. id quickfix or location list identifier start_idx index of the first entry for which text should be returned end_idx index of the last entry for which text should be returned
The function should return a single line of text to display in the quickfix window for each entry from start_idx to end_idx. The function can obtain information about the entries using the getqflist() function and specifying the quickfix list identifier "id". For a location list, getloclist() function can be used with the "winid" argument. If an empty list is returned, then the default format is used to display all the entries. If an item in the returned list is an empty string, then the default format is used to display the corresponding entry.
If a quickfix or location list specific customization is needed, then the 'quickfixtextfunc' attribute of the list can be set using the setqflist() or setloclist() function. This overrides the global 'quickfixtextfunc' option.
The example below displays the list of old files (v:oldfiles) in a quickfix window. As there is no line, column number and error text information associated with each entry, the 'quickfixtextfunc' function returns only the filename. Example:
" create a quickfix list from v:oldfiles
call setqflist([], ' ', {'lines' : v:oldfiles, 'efm' : '%f',
                                    \ 'quickfixtextfunc' : 'QfOldFiles'})
func QfOldFiles(info)
    " get information about a range of quickfix entries
    let items = getqflist({'id' : a:info.id, 'items' : 1}).items
    let l = []
    for idx in range(a:info.start_idx - 1, a:info.end_idx - 1)
        " use the simplified file name
      call add(l, fnamemodify(bufname(items[idx].bufnr), ':p:.'))
    endfor
    return l
endfunc
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