Sign

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


and Bram Moolenaar
Sign Support Features
When a debugger or other IDE tool is driving an editor it needs to be able to give specific highlights which quickly tell the user useful information about the file. One example of this would be a debugger which had an icon in the left-hand column denoting a breakpoint. Another example might be an arrow representing the Program Counter (PC). The sign features allow both placement of a sign, or icon, in the left-hand side of the window and definition of a highlight which will be applied to that line. Displaying the sign as an image is most likely only feasible in gvim (although Sun Microsystem's dtterm does support this it's the only terminal emulator I know of which does). A text sign and the highlight should be feasible in any color terminal emulator.
Signs and highlights are not useful just for debuggers. There are plugins that use signs to mark build errors or display version control status.
There are two steps in using signs:
1. Define the sign. This specifies the image, text and highlighting. For example, you can define a "break" sign with an image of a stop roadsign and text "!!".
2. Place the sign. This specifies the file and line number where the sign is displayed. A defined sign can be placed several times in different lines and files.
sign-column When signs are defined for a file, Vim will automatically add a column of two characters to display them in. When the last sign is unplaced the column disappears again. This behavior can be changed with the 'signcolumn' option.
The color of the column is set with the SignColumn highlight group hl-SignColumn. Example to set the color:
:highlight SignColumn guibg=darkgrey
If 'cursorline' is enabled, then the CursorLineSign highlight group is used hl-CursorLineSign. sign-identifier Each placed sign is identified by a number called the sign identifier. This identifier is used to jump to the sign or to remove the sign. The identifier is assigned when placing the sign using the :sign-place command or the sign_place() function. Each sign identifier should be a unique number (per buffer). Placing the same identifier twice will move the previously placed sign. The sign_place() function can be called with a zero sign identifier to allocate the next available identifier.
sign-group Each placed sign can be assigned to either the global group or a named group. When placing a sign, if a group name is not supplied, or an empty string is used, then the sign is placed in the global group. Otherwise the sign is placed in the named group. The sign identifier is unique within a group. The sign group allows Vim plugins to use unique signs without interfering with other plugins using signs.
sign-priority Each placed sign is assigned a priority value independently of the sign group. The default priority for a sign is 10. When multiple signs that each have an icon or text are placed on the same line, signs are ordered with decreasing priority from left to right, up until the maximum width set in 'signcolumn'. Lower priority signs that do not fit are hidden. Highest priority signs with highlight attributes are always shown.
When the line on which the sign is placed is deleted, the sign is removed along with it.
Here is an example that places a sign "piet", displayed with the text ">>", in line 23 of the current file:
:sign define piet text=>> texthl=Search
:exe ":sign place 2 line=23 name=piet file=" .. expand("%:p")
And here is the command to delete it again:
:sign unplace 2
Note that the ":sign" command cannot be followed by another command or a comment. If you do need that, use the :execute command.
DEFINING A SIGN. :sign-define E255 E160 E612
See sign_define() for the equivalent Vim script function.
:sign define {name} {argument}... Define a new sign or set attributes for an existing sign. The {name} can either be a number (all digits) or a name starting with a non-digit. Leading zeros are ignored, thus "0012", "012" and "12" are considered the same name. About 120 different signs can be defined.
Accepted arguments:
icon={bitmap} Define the file name where the bitmap can be found. Should be a full path. The bitmap should fit in the place of two characters. This is not checked. If the bitmap is too big it will cause redraw problems. Win32 .bmp, .ico, .cur
linehl={group} Highlighting group used for the whole line the sign is placed in. Most useful is defining a background color.
numhl={group} Highlighting group used for the line number on the line where the sign is placed. Overrides hl-LineNr, hl-LineNrAbove, hl-LineNrBelow, and hl-CursorLineNr.
text={text} E239 Define the text that is displayed when there is no icon or the GUI is not being used. Only printable characters are allowed and they must occupy one or two display cells.
texthl={group} Highlighting group used for the text item.
culhl={group} Highlighting group used for the text item when the cursor is on the same line as the sign and 'cursorline' is enabled.
Example:
:sign define MySign text=>> texthl=Search linehl=DiffText
DELETING A SIGN :sign-undefine E155
See sign_undefine() for the equivalent Vim script function.
:sign undefine {name} Deletes a previously defined sign. If signs with this {name} are still placed this will cause trouble.
Example:
:sign undefine MySign
See sign_getdefined() for the equivalent Vim script function.
:sign list Lists all defined signs and their attributes.
:sign list {name} Lists one defined sign and its attributes.
See sign_place() for the equivalent Vim script function.
:sign place {id} line={lnum} name={name} file={fname} Place sign defined as {name} at line {lnum} in file {fname}. :sign-fname The file {fname} must already be loaded in a buffer. The exact file name must be used, wildcards, $ENV and ~ are not expanded, white space must not be escaped. Trailing white space is ignored.
The sign is remembered under {id}, this can be used for further manipulation. {id} must be a number. Placing the same {id} multiple times will move the sign.
The following optional sign attributes can be specified before "file=": group={group} Place sign in sign group {group} priority={prio} Assign priority {prio} to sign
By default, the sign is placed in the global sign group.
By default, the sign is assigned a default priority of 10. To assign a different priority value, use "priority={prio}" to specify a value. The priority is used to determine the sign that is displayed when multiple signs are placed on the same line.
Examples:
:sign place 5 line=3 name=sign1 file=a.py
:sign place 6 group=g2 line=2 name=sign2 file=x.py
:sign place 9 group=g2 priority=50 line=5
                                \ name=sign1 file=a.py
:sign place {id} line={lnum} name={name} [buffer={nr}] Same, but use buffer {nr}. If the buffer argument is not given, place the sign in the current buffer.
Example:
:sign place 10 line=99 name=sign3
:sign place 10 line=99 name=sign3 buffer=3
E885 :sign place {id} name={name} file={fname} Change the placed sign {id} in file {fname} to use the defined sign {name}. See remark above about {fname} :sign-fname. This can be used to change the displayed sign without moving it (e.g., when the debugger has stopped at a breakpoint).
The optional "group={group}" attribute can be used before "file=" to select a sign in a particular group. The optional "priority={prio}" attribute can be used to change the priority of an existing sign.
Example:
:sign place 23 name=sign1 file=/path/to/edit.py
:sign place {id} name={name} [buffer={nr}] Same, but use buffer {nr}. If the buffer argument is not given, use the current buffer.
Example:
:sign place 23 name=sign1
:sign place 23 name=sign1 buffer=7
See sign_unplace() for the equivalent Vim script function.
:sign unplace {id} file={fname} Remove the previously placed sign {id} from file {fname}. See remark above about {fname} :sign-fname.
:sign unplace {id} group={group} file={fname} Same but remove the sign {id} in sign group {group}.
:sign unplace {id} group=* file={fname} Same but remove the sign {id} from all the sign groups.
:sign unplace * file={fname} Remove all placed signs in file {fname}.
:sign unplace * group={group} file={fname} Remove all placed signs in group {group} from file {fname}.
:sign unplace * group=* file={fname} Remove all placed signs in all the groups from file {fname}.
:sign unplace {id} buffer={nr} Remove the previously placed sign {id} from buffer {nr}.
:sign unplace {id} group={group} buffer={nr} Remove the previously placed sign {id} in group {group} from buffer {nr}.
:sign unplace {id} group=* buffer={nr} Remove the previously placed sign {id} in all the groups from buffer {nr}.
:sign unplace * buffer={nr} Remove all placed signs in buffer {nr}.
:sign unplace * group={group} buffer={nr} Remove all placed signs in group {group} from buffer {nr}.
:sign unplace * group=* buffer={nr} Remove all placed signs in all the groups from buffer {nr}.
:sign unplace {id} Remove the previously placed sign {id} from all files it appears in.
:sign unplace {id} group={group} Remove the previously placed sign {id} in group {group} from all files it appears in.
:sign unplace {id} group=* Remove the previously placed sign {id} in all the groups from all the files it appears in.
:sign unplace * Remove all placed signs in the global group from all the files.
:sign unplace * group={group} Remove all placed signs in group {group} from all the files.
:sign unplace * group=* Remove all placed signs in all the groups from all the files.
:sign unplace Remove a placed sign at the cursor position. If multiple signs are placed in the line, then only one is removed.
:sign unplace group={group} Remove a placed sign in group {group} at the cursor position.
:sign unplace group=* Remove a placed sign in any group at the cursor position.
See sign_getplaced() for the equivalent Vim script function.
:sign place file={fname} List signs placed in file {fname}. See remark above about {fname} :sign-fname.
:sign place group={group} file={fname} List signs in group {group} placed in file {fname}.
:sign place group=* file={fname} List signs in all the groups placed in file {fname}.
:sign place buffer={nr} List signs placed in buffer {nr}.
:sign place group={group} buffer={nr} List signs in group {group} placed in buffer {nr}.
:sign place group=* buffer={nr} List signs in all the groups placed in buffer {nr}.
:sign place List placed signs in the global group in all files.
:sign place group={group} List placed signs with sign group {group} in all files.
:sign place group=* List placed signs in all sign groups in all files.
JUMPING TO A SIGN :sign-jump E157
See sign_jump() for the equivalent Vim script function.
:sign jump {id} file={fname} Open the file {fname} or jump to the window that contains {fname} and position the cursor at sign {id}. See remark above about {fname} :sign-fname. If the file isn't displayed in window and the current file can not be abandoned this fails.
:sign jump {id} group={group} file={fname} Same but jump to the sign in group {group}
:sign jump {id} [buffer={nr}] E934 Same, but use buffer {nr}. This fails if buffer {nr} does not have a name. If the buffer argument is not given, use the current buffer.
:sign jump {id} group={group} [buffer={nr}] Same but jump to the sign in group {group}
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