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Preview - Vim plugin for previewing markup files

by Sergey Potapov (aka Blake)


Preview plugin is a tool developed to help you to preview markup files such as .markdown, .rdoc, .textile and .html when you are editing them. It builds html files and opens them in your browser.

Supported Formats

The plugin supports the next formats:

  • markdown(md, mkd, mkdn, mdown) - depends on redcarpet ruby gem
  • rdoc - depends on github-markup ruby gem
  • textile - depends on RedCloth ruby gem
  • html(htm)
  • ronn - depends on ronn ruby gem
  • reStructuredText(rst) - depends on RbST ruby gem and rst2html system util


The plugin requires a builtin ruby interpreter. It means that your Vim should be compiled with --enable-rubyinterp option. To find out does your Vim have builtin ruby interpreter you can do the next: :echo has('ruby')

If output is 1 the ruby interpreter is builtin.

The second thing you should verify is that you have installed all necessary ruby gems. Please see "Supported Formats" section to find out what gems you need.

For reStructuredText(rst) format except RbST ruby gem you also need rst2html. To get rst2html util you probably should install python-docutils package. Otherwise PreviewRst vim command will show empty html file.


To install the plugin just copy autoload, plugin, doc directories into your .vim directory.


  • <Leader>P - will open current file converted to HTML in your browser.

I want to remind that <Leader> in most cases is "\" key.


If you encountered this err when you press <Leader>P.

Preview: don't know how to handle .modula2 format

You may add this piece of code to .vimrc

autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead \*.{md,mdwn,mkd,mkdn,mark\*} set filetype=markdown

Know bugs

  • In some cases vim can do fork if it uses ruby 1.9. To avoid this trouble fork is done via python.

If you found a bug, please report it. Or better send me a pull request:)


  • Make more unique names for temporary files than just base name ending with .html. There should be vim_preview prefix, PID of Vim and number of buffer to guarantee avoiding conflicts.
  • Add ability to use alternative gems for processing markdown and other formats.
  • Handle exception when 'rubygems' is not found.



This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA


Vim plugin for previewing markup files(markdown,rdoc,textile,html)




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