Automatically discover and "properly" update ctags files on save
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If you use ctags to make tags files of your source, it's nice to be able to re-run ctags on a source file when you save it.

However, using ctags -a will only change existing entries in a tags file or add new ones. It doesn't delete entries that no longer exist. Should you delete an entity from your source file that's represented by an entry in a tags file, that entry will remain after calling ctags -a.

This python function will do two things:

  1. It will search for a tags file starting in the directory where your source file resides and moving up a directory at a time until it either finds one or runs out of directories to try.

  2. Should it find a tags file, it will then delete all entries in said tags file referencing the source file you've just saved and then execute ctags -a on that source file using the relative path to the source file from the tags file.

This way, every time you save a file, your tags file will be seamlessly updated.


Currently I suggest you use Vundle and install as a normal Bundle

From the Vim command-line

:BundleInstall 'craigemery/vim-autotag'

And add to your ~/.vimrc

Bundle 'craigemery/vim-autotag'

Or you can manually install cd git clone git:// cd ~/.vim/ mkdir -p plugin cp ~/vim-autotag.git/plugin/autotag.vim plugin/

Install as a Pathogen bundle

git clone git:// ~/.vim/bundle/vim-autotag


Autotag can be configured using the following global variables:

Name Purpose
g:autotagmaxTagsFileSize a cap on what size tag file to strip etc
g:autotagExcludeSuffixes suffixes to not ctags on
g:autotagVerbosityLevel logging verbosity (as in Python logging module)
g:autotagCtagsCmd name of ctags command
g:autotagTagsFile name of tags file to look for
g:autotagDisabled Disable autotag (enable by setting to any non-blank value)
g:autotagStopAt stop looking for a tags file (and make one) at this directory (defaults to $HOME)


let g:autotagTagsFile=".tags"


Like autotag.vim? Follow the repository on GitHub and vote for it on And if you're feeling especially charitable, follow [craigemery] on GitHub.


Copyright (c) Craig Emery. Distributed under the same terms as Vim itself. See :help license.