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

Differences between Nvim and Vim
Nvim differs from Vim in many ways, although editor and Vimscript (not Vim9script) features are mostly identical. This document is a complete and centralized reference of the differences.

Configuration nvim-config

User configuration and data files are found in standard base-directories (see also $NVIM_APPNAME). Note in particular:
Use $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/nvim/init.vim instead of .vimrc for your config.
Use $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/nvim instead of .vim to store configuration files.
Use $XDG_STATE_HOME/nvim/shada/main.shada instead of .viminfo for persistent session information. shada

Defaults nvim-defaults

Filetype detection is enabled by default. This can be disabled by adding ":filetype off" to init.vim.
Syntax highlighting is enabled by default. This can be disabled by adding ":syntax off" to init.vim.
Default color scheme has been updated. This can result in color schemes looking differently due to them relying on how highlight groups are defined by default. Add ":colorscheme vim" to init.vim or ":source $VIMRUNTIME/colors/vim.lua" to your color scheme file to restore the old default links and colors.
'autoindent' is enabled
'autoread' is enabled (works in all UIs, including terminal)
'background' defaults to "dark" (unless set automatically by the terminal/UI)
'backspace' defaults to "indent,eol,start"
'backupdir' defaults to .,~/.local/state/nvim/backup// (xdg), auto-created
'belloff' defaults to "all"
'comments' includes "fb:•"
'commentstring' defaults to ""
'compatible' is always disabled
'complete' excludes "i"
'define' defaults to "". The C ftplugin sets it to "^\\s*#\\s*define"
'directory' defaults to ~/.local/state/nvim/swap// (xdg), auto-created
'display' defaults to "lastline"
'encoding' is UTF-8 (cf. 'fileencoding' for file-content encoding)
'fillchars' defaults (in effect) to "vert:│,fold:·,foldsep:│"
'formatoptions' defaults to "tcqj"
'grepprg' uses the -H and -I flags for regular grep, and defaults to using ripgrep if available
'hidden' is enabled
'history' defaults to 10000 (the maximum)
'hlsearch' is enabled
'include' defaults to "". The C ftplugin sets it to "^\\s*#\\s*include"
'incsearch' is enabled
'isfname' does not include ":" (on Windows). Drive letters are handled correctly without it. (Use gF for filepaths suffixed with ":line:col").
'joinspaces' is disabled
'jumpoptions' defaults to "unload"
'langnoremap' is enabled
'langremap' is disabled
'laststatus' defaults to 2 (statusline is always shown)
'listchars' defaults to "tab:> ,trail:-,nbsp:+"
'mouse' defaults to "nvi"
'mousemodel' defaults to "popup_setpos"
'nrformats' defaults to "bin,hex"
'path' defaults to ".,,". The C ftplugin adds "/usr/include" if it exists.
'ruler' is enabled
'sessionoptions' includes "unix,slash", excludes "options"
'shortmess' includes "CF", excludes "S"
'showcmd' is enabled
'sidescroll' defaults to 1
'smarttab' is enabled
'startofline' is disabled
'switchbuf' defaults to "uselast"
'tabpagemax' defaults to 50
'tags' defaults to "./tags;,tags"
'termguicolors' is enabled by default if Nvim can detect support from the host terminal
'ttimeout' is enabled
'ttimeoutlen' defaults to 50
'ttyfast' is always set
'undodir' defaults to ~/.local/state/nvim/undo// (xdg), auto-created
'viewoptions' includes "unix,slash", excludes "options"
'viminfo' includes "!"
'wildmenu' is enabled
'wildoptions' defaults to "pum,tagfile"
editorconfig plugin is enabled, .editorconfig settings are applied.
man.lua plugin is enabled, so :Man is available by default.
matchit plugin is enabled. To disable it in your config:
:let loaded_matchit = 1
g:vimsyn_embed defaults to "l" to enable Lua highlighting


default-mouse disable-mouse By default the mouse is enabled, and <RightMouse> opens a popup-menu with standard actions ("Cut", "Copy", "Paste", …). Mouse is NOT enabled in command-mode or the more-prompt, so you can temporarily disable it just by typing ":".
If you don't like this you can disable the mouse in your config using any of the following:
Disable mouse completely by unsetting the 'mouse' option:
set mouse=
Pressing <RightMouse> extends selection instead of showing popup-menu:
set mousemodel=extend
Pressing <A-LeftMouse> releases mouse until the cursor moves:
nnoremap <A-LeftMouse> <Cmd>
  \ set mouse=<Bar>
  \ echo 'mouse OFF until next cursor-move'<Bar>
  \ autocmd CursorMoved * ++once set mouse&<Bar>
  \ echo 'mouse ON'<CR>
To remove the "How-to disable mouse" menu item and the separator above it:
aunmenu PopUp.How-to\ disable\ mouse
aunmenu PopUp.-1-


default-mappings Nvim creates the following default mappings at startup. You can disable any of these in your config by simply removing the mapping, e.g. ":unmap Y".


default-autocmds Default autocommands exist in the following groups. Use ":autocmd! {group}" to remove them and ":autocmd {group}" to see how they're defined.
BufReadCmd: Treats "term://" buffers as terminal buffers. terminal-start
TermClose: A terminal buffer started with no arguments (which thus uses 'shell') and which exits with no error is closed automatically.
TermRequest: The terminal emulator responds to OSC background and foreground requests, indicating (1) a black background and white foreground when Nvim option 'background' is "dark" or (2) a white background and black foreground when 'background' is "light". While this may not reflect the actual foreground/background color, it permits 'background' to be retained for a nested Nvim instance running in the terminal emulator.
TermOpen: Sets default options for terminal buffers:
'undolevels' set to -1
'textwidth' set to 0
CmdwinEnter: Limits syntax sync to maxlines=1 in the cmdwin.
SwapExists: Skips the swapfile prompt (sets v:swapchoice to "e") when the swapfile is owned by a running Nvim process. Shows W325 "Ignoring swapfile…" message.

New Features nvim-features


Job control job-control
LSP framework lsp
Lua scripting lua
Parsing engine treesitter
Clipboard provider-clipboard
Node.js plugins provider-nodejs
Python plugins provider-python
Ruby plugins provider-ruby
Remote plugins remote-plugin
Shared data shada
Terminal emulator terminal
Vimscript parser nvim_parse_expression()
XDG base directories xdg


Working intuitively and consistently is a major goal of Nvim.
Nvim always includes ALL features, in contrast to Vim (which ships various combinations of 100+ optional features). feature-compile Think of it as a leaner version of Vim's "HUGE" build. This reduces surface area for bugs, and removes a common source of confusion and friction for users.
Nvim avoids features that cannot be provided on all platforms; instead that is delegated to external plugins/extensions. E.g. the -X platform-specific option is "sometimes" available in Vim (with potential surprises:
Vim's internal test functions (test_autochdir(), test_settime(), etc.) are not exposed (nor implemented); instead Nvim has a robust API.
Behaviors, options, documentation are removed if they cost users more time than they save.
Usability details have been improved where the benefit outweighs any backwards-compatibility cost. Some examples:
Directories for 'directory' and 'undodir' are auto-created.
Terminal features such as 'guicursor' are enabled where possible.
Various "nvim" cli-arguments were redesigned.
Some features are built in that otherwise required external plugins:
Highlighting the yanked region, see vim.highlight.


The Nvim UI is "decoupled" from the core editor: all UIs, including the builtin TUI are just plugins that connect to a Nvim server (via --server or --embed). Multiple Nvim UI clients can connect to the same Nvim editor server.
External plugins run in separate processes. remote-plugin This improves stability and allows those plugins to work without blocking the editor. Even "legacy" Python and Ruby plugins which use the old Vim interfaces (if_pyth, if_ruby) run out-of-process, so they cannot crash Nvim.
Platform and I/O facilities are built upon libuv. Nvim benefits from libuv features and bug fixes, and other projects benefit from improvements to libuv by Nvim developers.


The expression prompt (@=, c_CTRL-R_=, i_CTRL-R_=) is highlighted using a built-in Vimscript expression parser. expr-highlight
E5408 E5409 input(), inputdialog() support custom highlighting. input()-highlight
(Experimental) g:Nvim_color_cmdline Command-line (:) is colored by callback defined in g:Nvim_color_cmdline (this callback is for testing only, and will be removed in the future).
:drop is always available
:Man is available by default, with many improvements such as completion
:match can be invoked before highlight group is defined
:source works with Lua User commands can support :command-preview to show results as you type
:write with "++p" flag creates parent directories.
dictwatcheradd() notifies a callback whenever a Dict is modified
msgpackdump(), msgpackparse() provide msgpack de/serialization
system(), systemlist() can run {cmd} directly (without 'shell')
matchadd() can be called before highlight group is defined
tempname() tries to recover if the Nvim tempdir disappears.
writefile() with "p" flag creates parent directories.
Highlight groups:
highlight-blend controls blend level for a highlight group
expr-highlight highlight groups (prefixed with "Nvim")
hl-NormalFloat highlights floating window
hl-FloatBorder highlights border of a floating window
hl-FloatTitle highlights title of a floating window
hl-FloatFooter highlights footer of a floating window
hl-NormalNC highlights non-current windows
hl-MsgArea highlights messages/cmdline area
hl-MsgSeparator highlights separator for scrolled messages
hl-WinSeparator highlights window separators
hl-Whitespace highlights 'listchars' whitespace
hl-WinBar highlights 'winbar'
hl-WinBarNC highlights non-current window 'winbar'
ALT (META) chords always work (even in the TUI). Map <M- with any key: <M-1>, <M-BS>, <M-Del>, <M-Ins>, <M-/>, <M-\>, <M-Space>, <M-Enter>, etc.
Case-sensitive: <M-a> and <M-A> are two different keycodes.
ALT may behave like <Esc> if not mapped. i_ALT v_ALT c_ALT
Normal commands:
gO shows a filetype-defined "outline" of the current buffer.
Q replays the last recorded macro instead of switching to Ex mode (gQ).
Local values for global-local number/boolean options are unset when the option is set without a scope (e.g. by using :set), similarly to how global-local string options work.
'autoread' works in the terminal (if it supports "focus" events)
'diffopt' "linematch" feature
'exrc' searches for ".nvim.lua", ".nvimrc", or ".exrc" files. The user is prompted whether to trust the file.
'fillchars' flags: "msgsep", "horiz", "horizup", "horizdown", "vertleft", "vertright", "verthoriz"
'foldcolumn' supports up to 9 dynamic/fixed columns
'guicursor' works in the terminal (TUI)
'inccommand' shows interactive results for :substitute-like commands and :command-preview commands
"view" tries to restore mark-view when moving through the jumplist.
"unload" removes unloaded buffers from the jumplist.
'laststatus' global statusline support
'mousescroll' amount to scroll by when scrolling with a mouse
'pumblend' pseudo-transparent popupmenu
"F" flag does not affect output from autocommands.
"q" flag fully hides macro recording message.
'signcolumn' supports up to 9 dynamic/fixed columns
'statuscolumn' full control of columns using 'statusline' format
'tabline' middle-click on tabpage label closes tabpage, and %@Func@foo%X can call any function on mouse-click
'ttimeout', 'ttimeoutlen' behavior was simplified
'winblend' pseudo-transparency in floating windows api-floatwin
'winhighlight' window-local highlights
If a Python interpreter is available on your $PATH, :python and :python3 are always available. See provider-python.
Shell output (:!, :make, …) is always routed through the UI, so it cannot "mess up" the screen. (You can still use "chansend(v:stderr,…)" if you want to mess up the screen :)
Nvim throttles (skips) messages from shell commands (:!, :grep, :make) if there is too much output. No data is lost, this only affects display and improves performance. :terminal output is never throttled.
:! does not support "interactive" commands. Use :terminal instead. (GUI Vim has a similar limitation, see ":help gui-pty" in Vim.)
:!start is not special-cased on Windows.
system() does not support writing/reading "backgrounded" commands. E5677
Signs are removed if the associated line is deleted.
Signs placed twice with the same identifier in the same group are moved.
-e and -es invoke the same "improved Ex mode" as -E and -Es.
-E and -Es read stdin as text (into buffer 1).
-es and -Es have improved behavior:
Quits automatically, don't need "-c qa!".
Skips swap-file dialog.
-s reads Normal commands from stdin if the script name is "-".
Reading text (instead of commands) from stdin --:
works by default: "-" file is optional
works in more cases: -Es, file args
TUI: :set-termcap
Start Nvim with 'verbose' level 3 to show terminal capabilities:
nvim -V3
'term' E529 E530 E531
'term' reflects the terminal type derived from $TERM and other environment checks. For debugging only; not reliable during startup.
:echo &term
"builtin_x" means one of the builtin-terms was chosen, because the expected terminfo file was not found on the system.
Nvim will use 256-colour capability on Linux virtual terminals. Vim uses only 8 colours plus bright foreground on Linux VTs.
Vim combines what is in its builtin-terms with what it reads from terminfo, and has a 'ttybuiltin' setting to control how that combination works. Nvim uses one or the other, it does not attempt to merge the two.
Visual selection highlights the character at cursor. visual-use
messages: When showing messages longer than 'cmdheight', only scroll the message lines, not the entire screen. The separator line is decorated by hl-MsgSeparator and the "msgsep" flag of 'fillchars'. msgsep
v:progpath is always absolute ("full")
v:windowid is always available (for use by external UIs)
OptionSet autocommand args v:option_new, v:option_old,
v:option_oldlocal, v:option_oldglobal have the type of the option instead of always being strings. v:option_old is now the old global value for all global-local options, instead of just string global-local options.
:redir nested in execute() works.

Upstreamed features nvim-upstreamed

These Nvim features were later integrated into Vim.
'fillchars' flags: "eob"
'jumpoptions' "stack" behavior
'wildoptions' flags: "pum" enables popupmenu for wildmode completion
:sign-define "numhl" argument
:source works with anonymous (no file) scripts
'statusline' supports unlimited alignment sections

Other changes nvim-changed

This section documents various low-level behavior changes.
mkdir() behaviour changed:
1. Assuming /tmp/foo does not exist and /tmp can be written to mkdir('/tmp/foo/bar', 'p', 0700) will create both /tmp/foo and /tmp/foo/bar with 0700 permissions. Vim mkdir will create /tmp/foo with 0755.
2. If you try to create an existing directory with 'p' (e.g. mkdir('/', 'p')) mkdir() will silently exit. In Vim this was an error.
3. mkdir() error messages now include strerror() text when mkdir fails.
string() and :echo behaviour changed:
1. No maximum recursion depth limit is applied to nested container structures.
2. string() fails immediately on nested containers, not when recursion limit was exceeded.
3. When :echo encounters duplicate containers like
let l = []
echo [l, l]
it does not use "[...]" (was: "[[], [...]]", now: "[[], []]"). "..." is only used for recursive containers.
4. :echo printing nested containers adds "@level" after "..." designating the level at which recursive container was printed: :echo-self-refer. Same thing applies to string() (though it uses construct like "{E724@level}"), but this is not reliable because string() continues to error out.
5. Stringifyed infinite and NaN values now use str2float() and can be evaled back.
6. (internal) Trying to print or stringify VAR_UNKNOWN in Vim results in nothing, E908, in Nvim it is internal error.
json_decode() behaviour changed:
1. It may output msgpack-special-dict.
2. msgpack-special-dict is emitted also in case of duplicate keys, while in Vim it errors out.
3. It accepts only valid JSON. Trailing commas are not accepted.
json_encode() behaviour slightly changed: now msgpack-special-dict values are accepted, but v:none is not.
Viminfo text files were replaced with binary (messagepack) shada files. Additional differences:
shada-c has no effect.
shada-s now limits size of every item and not just registers.
'viminfo' option got renamed to 'shada'. Old option is kept as an alias for compatibility reasons.
:wviminfo was renamed to :wshada, :rviminfo to :rshada. Old commands are still kept.
ShaDa file format was designed with forward and backward compatibility in mind. shada-compatibility
Some errors make ShaDa code keep temporary file in-place for user to decide what to do with it. Vim deletes temporary file in these cases. shada-error-handling
ShaDa file keeps search direction (v:searchforward), viminfo does not.
printf() returns something meaningful when used with %p argument: in Vim it used to return useless address of the string (strings are copied to the newly allocated memory all over the place) and fail on types which cannot be coerced to strings. See id() for more details, currently it uses printf("%p", {expr}) internally.
c_CTRL-R pasting a non-special register into cmdline omits the last <CR>.
CursorMoved triggers when moving between windows.
Lua interface (lua.txt):
:lua print("a\0b") will print a^@b, like with :echomsg "a\nb" . In Vim that prints a and b on separate lines, exactly like :lua print("a\nb") .
:lua error('TEST') emits the error:
E5108: Error executing lua: [string "<Vimscript compiled string>"]:1: TEST
whereas Vim emits only "TEST".
Lua has direct access to Nvim API via vim.api.
Lua package.path and package.cpath are automatically updated according to 'runtimepath'. lua-module-load
:doautocmd does not warn about "No matching autocommands".
:wincmd accepts a count.
:write! does not show a prompt if the file was updated externally.
:= does not accept ex-flags. With an arg it is equivalent to :lua=
The meanings of arrow keys do not change depending on 'wildoptions'.
input() and inputdialog() support for each other’s features (return on cancel and completion respectively) via dictionary argument (replaces all other arguments if used), and "cancelreturn" can have any type if passed in a dictionary.
input() and inputdialog() support user-defined cmdline highlighting.
Highlight groups:
hl-ColorColumn, hl-CursorColumn are lower priority than most other groups
hl-CursorLine is low-priority unless foreground color is set
Highlight groups names are allowed to contain @ characters.
It is an error to define a highlight group with a name that doesn't match the regexp [a-zA-Z0-9_.@-]* (see group-name).
hl-StatusLineTerm hl-StatusLineTermNC are implemented as 'winhighlight' window-local highlights which are set by the default TermOpen handler.
Macro (recording) behavior:
Replay of a macro recorded during :lmap produces the same actions as when it was recorded. In Vim if a macro is recorded while using :lmap'ped keys then the behaviour during record and replay differs.
'keymap' is implemented via :lmap instead of :lnoremap so that you can use macros and 'keymap' at the same time. This also means you can use :imap on the results of keys from 'keymap'.
Creating a mapping for a simplifiable key (e.g. <C-I>) doesn't replace an existing mapping for its simplified form (e.g. <Tab>).
"#" followed by a digit doesn't stand for a function key at the start of the lhs of a mapping.
The jumplist avoids useless/phantom jumps.
Folds are not updated during insert-mode.
Syntax highlighting:
syncolor.vim has been removed. Nvim now sets up default highlighting groups automatically for both light and dark backgrounds, regardless of whether or not syntax highlighting is enabled. This means that :syntax-on and :syntax-enable are now identical. Users who previously used an after/syntax/syncolor.vim file should transition that file into a colorscheme. :colorscheme
Vimscript compatibility:
count does not alias to v:count
errmsg does not alias to v:errmsg
shell_error does not alias to v:shell_error
this_session does not alias to v:this_session
Working directory (Vim implemented some of these after Nvim):
DirChanged and DirChangedPre can be triggered when switching to another window or tab.
getcwd() and haslocaldir() may throw errors if the tab page or window cannot be found. E5000 E5001 E5002
haslocaldir() checks for tab-local directory if and only if -1 is passed as window number, and its only possible returns values are 0 and 1.
getcwd(-1) is equivalent to getcwd(-1, 0) instead of returning the global working directory. Use getcwd(-1, -1) to get the global working directory.
Fixed inconsistent behavior in execution of nested autocommands:
TermResponse is fired for any OSC sequence received from the terminal, instead of the Primary Device Attributes response. v:termresponse

Missing features nvim-missing

These legacy Vim features are not yet implemented:

Removed legacy features nvim-removed

These Vim features were intentionally removed from Nvim.
ex (alias for "nvim -e")
exim (alias for "nvim -E")
gex (GUI)
gview (GUI)
gvim (GUI)
gvimdiff (GUI)
rgview (GUI)
rgvim (GUI)
view (alias for "nvim -R")
vimdiff (alias for "nvim -d" diff-mode)
hardcopy :hardcopy was removed. Instead, use :TOhtml and print the resulting HTML using a web browser or other HTML viewer.
:mode (no longer accepts an argument)
:scriptversion (always version 1)
:sleep! (does not hide the cursor; same as :sleep)
:TOhtml was replaced by a Lua version (with various differences)
Compile-time features:
Emacs tags support
X11 integration (see x11-selection)
Cscope: cscope
Cscope support was removed in favour of plugin-based solutions such as:
v:none (used by Vim to represent JavaScript "undefined"); use v:null instead.
SigUSR1 Use Signal to detect SIGUSR1 signal instead.
'backspace' no longer supports number values. Instead:
for backspace=0 set backspace= (empty)
for backspace=1 set backspace=indent,eol
for backspace=2 set backspace=indent,eol,start (default behavior in Nvim)
for backspace=3 set backspace=indent,eol,nostop
bioskey (MS-DOS)
conskey (MS-DOS)
'cp' 'nocompatible' 'nocp' 'compatible' (Nvim is always "nocompatible".)
'cpoptions' (gjpkHw<*- and all POSIX flags were removed)
'cryptmethod' 'cm' 'key' (Vim encryption implementation)
'encoding' ("utf-8" is always used)
'guioptions' "t" flag was removed
'guifontset' 'gfs' (Use 'guifont' instead.)
'guipty' (Nvim uses pipes and PTYs consistently on all platforms.)
'highlight' (Names of builtin highlight-groups cannot be changed.)
'hkmap' 'hk' use set keymap=hebrew instead.
'hkmapp' 'hkp' use set keymap=hebrewp instead.
'pastetoggle' 'pt' Just Paste It.™ paste is handled automatically when you paste text using your terminal's or GUI's paste feature (CTRL-SHIFT-v, CMD-v (macOS), middle-click, …).
'insertmode' 'im' Use the following script to emulate 'insertmode':
autocmd BufWinEnter * startinsert
inoremap <Esc> <C-X><C-Z><C-]>
inoremap <C-C> <C-X><C-Z>
inoremap <C-L> <C-X><C-Z><C-]><Esc>
inoremap <C-Z> <C-X><C-Z><Cmd>suspend<CR>
noremap <C-C> <Esc>
snoremap <C-C> <Esc>
noremap <C-\><C-G> <C-\><C-N><Cmd>startinsert<CR>
cnoremap <C-\><C-G> <C-\><C-N><Cmd>startinsert<CR>
inoremap <C-\><C-G> <C-X><C-Z>
autocmd CmdWinEnter * noremap <buffer> <C-C> <C-C>
autocmd CmdWinEnter * inoremap <buffer> <C-C> <C-C>
lua << EOF
    if c == '\27' then
      local mode = vim.api.nvim_get_mode().mode
      if mode:find('^[nvV\22sS\19]') and vim.fn.getcmdtype() == '' then
'maxcombine' 'mco' : Nvim counts maximum character sizes in bytes, not codepoints. This is guaranteed to be big enough to always fit all chars properly displayed in vim with 'maxcombine' set to 6.
You can still edit text with larger characters than fits in the screen buffer, you just can't see them. Use g8 or ga. See mbyte-combining.
NOTE: the rexexp engine still has a hard-coded limit of considering 6 composing chars only.
'maxmem' Nvim delegates memory-management to the OS.
'maxmemtot' Nvim delegates memory-management to the OS.
'secure' : Everything is allowed in 'exrc' files, because they must be explicitly marked as "trusted".
'shortmess' flags: shm-f shm-n shm-x shm-i (behave like always on)
'termencoding' 'tenc' (Vim 7.4.852 also removed this for Windows)
'terse' 'noterse' (Add "s" to 'shortmess' instead)
if_lua : Nvim Lua API is not compatible with Vim's "if_lua".
--literal: File args are always literal; to expand wildcards on Windows, use :n e.g. nvim +"n *"
Easy mode: eview, evim, nvim -y
Restricted mode: rview, rvim, nvim -Z
Vi mode: nvim -v
Test functions:
TUI: t_xx termcap-options t_AB t_Sb t_vb t_SI
Nvim does not have special t_XX options nor <t_XX> keycodes to configure terminal capabilities. Instead Nvim treats the terminal as any other UI, e.g. 'guicursor' sets the terminal cursor style if possible.
Nvim never uses the termcap database, only terminfo and builtin-terms.
xterm-8bit xterm-8-bit
Xterm can be run in a mode where it uses true 8-bit CSI. Supporting this requires autodetection of whether the terminal is in UTF-8 mode or non-UTF-8 mode, as the 8-bit CSI character has to be written differently in each case. Vim issues a "request version" sequence to the terminal at startup and looks at how the terminal is sending CSI. Nvim does not issue such a sequence and always uses 7-bit control sequences.
Commands index
Quick reference