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autoload [Vim] Declare buffers as a part of current tab May 18, 2017
plugin Fix GUI color errors May 17, 2017
LICENSE Initial commit May 12, 2017 Add default interface screenshot May 18, 2017


If you are an experienced Vim user, you might got tired of bn/bp/ls/Ctrl-^. If you are new to the Vim world, then welcome, and start by learning Vim's notions of buffers, windows and tabpages.

VimWorkspace brings the IDE-like tabs into Vim, for easy navigation, and a nice, customizable look. It takes your buffers and tabs, and shows them combined in the tabline. With this you always have your list of buffers visible, at the same time not losing visibility into tabs. Moreover, VimWorkspace provides handy commands to boost navigation as well as a list of options to customize how the tabline appears.


VimWorkspace Screenshot

Take a look at the screenshot. The blue cuties are the tabpages. The tabpage that has the buffers list coming next, is the current tabpage. The gray items with names are the hidden/inactive buffers, and obviously, the green one is the current buffer. The gray items on both ends with the little arrows and numbers are the truncation indicators. If all the buffers do not fit the screen, VimWorkflow truncates the tabline, and shows the number of truncated buffers on both ends.

Note: the instance of vim in the screenshot is configured to use powerline symbols and dev-icons. The default interface is only text and will work without requiring any patched fonts. The default interface looks like in the screenshot below.

VimWorkspace Screenshot


Use your favourite plugin manager to install VimWorkspace. If you do not have any preference or have not decided yet, I would recommend Plug.

Plug 'bagrat/vim-workspace'

After installation, VimWorkspace is enabled by default, so whenever you restart Vim, you will see the new tabline!


As already mentioned, VimWorkflow provides a set of commands to easily navigate through your buffers. You might wonder, how would some commands replace :bn and :bp. The answer is, that if you are using some other plugins, that add their buffers to your buffer list, you might not want to be switched to those, while navigating through your list. VimWorkflow does this for you, and also provides options to extend the list of buffers to be ignored.

  • WSNext - switch to the buffer to the right of current one.
  • WSPrev - switch to the buffer to the left of current one.
  • WSClose[!] - close the current buffer. If is has unsaved changes, an error will be shown, and the buffer will stay open. To ignore any changes and forcibly close the buffer, use WSClose!.
  • WSTabNew - create a new tab. This uses the current buffer to load into the new tab's window, to avoid having a new empty buffer created. This is basically an equivalent of tabedit <current-buffer>.
  • WSBufOnly[!] - close all the buffers but the current. If there is any buffer in the list that has unsaved changes, this command stops there and shows an error. To ignore any changes and forcibly close all buffers (except the current one), use WSBufOnly!.


There are some configuration options that make it possible to customize how the tabline works and looks like.


The following is the list of available options, that should be set in your vimrc file, using let <optiona-name> = <option-value>:

  • g:workspace_hide_buffers - a list of buffer names to ignore. The name should match exactly. This option does not provide much power. For a more general configuration see the next option.


    let g:workspace_hide_buffers = []
  • g:workspace_hide_ft_buffers - a list of filetypes to ignore.


    let g:workspace_hide_ft_buffers = ['qf']
  • g:workspace_powerline_separators - if set to 1, use powerline separators in between buffers and tabs in the tabline. This is a shortcut, so that you do not have to configure the separators individually.


    let g:workspace_powerline_separators = 0
  • g:workspace_separator - the character to be used for separating items with different background colors in the tabline.


    let g:workspace_separator = ""
  • g:workspace_subseparator - the character to be used for separating items that have the same background colors in the tabline.


    let g:workspace_subseparator = "|"
  • g:workspace_use_devicons - if set to 1 and vim-devicons plugin is installed, show file type icons for each buffer in the tabline. If the vim-devicons plugin is not present, the option will automatically be set to 0.


    let g:workspace_use_devicons = 1
  • g:workspace_tab_icon - the character to be used as an icon for the tab items in the tabline.


    let g:workspace_tab_icon = "#"
  • g:workspace_new_buffer_name - the character to be shown as the name of a new buffer.


    let g:workspace_new_buffer_name = "*"
  • g:workspace_new_buffer_name - the character to be shown by the name of a modified buffer. Default:

    let g:workspace_modified_icon = "+"
  • g:workspace_left_trun_icon - the character to be shown by the count of truncated buffers on the left.


    let g:workspace_left_trunc_icon = "<"
  • g:workspace_right_trun_icon - the character to be shown by the count of truncated buffers on the right.


    let g:workspace_right_trunc_icon = ">"


Of course, you can customize the colors of your tabline, to make it awesome and yours. The following is the list of highlight groups, with self-explanatory names:

  • WorkspaceBufferCurrent - the current buffer.
  • WorkspaceBufferActive - an active buffer (a non-current buffer visible in a non-current window).
  • WorkspaceBufferHidden - a non-current buffer.
  • WorkspaceBufferTrunc - the truncation indicators (count of truncated buffers from the left or right).
  • WorkspaceTabCurrent - the current tab.
  • WorkspaceTabHidden - a non-current tab.
  • WorkspaceFill - the blank space left on the right of the tabline.

To get your custom colors set, define a function with name g:WorkspaceSetCustomColors and place your highlight group definitions inside the function. Make sure the function is defined before VimWorkspace is loaded

Recommendations and FAQ

Here are some recommended mappings to boost your navigation experience:

noremap <Tab> :WSNext<CR>
noremap <S-Tab> :WSPrev<CR>
noremap <Leader><Tab> :WSClose<CR>
noremap <Leader><S-Tab> :WSClose!<CR>
noremap <C-t> :WSTabNew<CR>

cabbrev bonly WSBufOnly


How do I get the look like in the screenshot?

First you will need a patched font, extended with powerline and font-awesome symbols. Also, you will need the vim-devicons installed, which also has great guides on how to patch fonts, as well as some pre-patched fonts. As soon as you have the patched font, setting the following options, will give you exactly the same tabline as you see in the demo gif:

let g:workspace_powerline_separators = 1
let g:workspace_tab_icon = "\uf00a"
let g:workspace_left_trunc_icon = "\uf0a8"
let g:workspace_right_trunc_icon = "\uf0a9"