Vim Better Whitespace Plugin
This plugin causes all trailing whitespace characters (see Supported Whitespace
Characters below) to be highlighted. Whitespace for the current line will
not be highlighted while in insert mode. It is possible to disable current line highlighting while in other
modes as well (see options below). A helper function
:StripWhitespace is also provided to make whitespace
There are a few ways you can go about installing this plugin:
- If you have Vundle you can simply add:
.vimrcfile then run:
- If you are using Pathogen, you can just run the following command:
git clone git://github.com/ntpeters/vim-better-whitespace.git ~/.vim/bundle/vim-better-whitespace
- While this plugin can also be installed by copying its contents into your
~/.vim/directory, I would highly recommend using one of the above methods as they make managing your Vim plugins painless.
Whitespace highlighting is enabled by default, with a highlight color of red.
To set a custom highlight color, just call:
highlight ExtraWhitespace ctermbg=<desired_color>
Similarly, to set gui color:
To enable highlighting and stripping whitespace on save by default, use respectively
let g:better_whitespace_enabled=1 let g:strip_whitespace_on_save=1
Set them to 0 to disable this default behaviour. See below for the blacklist of file types and per-buffer settings.
To enable/disable/toggle whitespace highlighting in a buffer, call one of:
:EnableWhitespace :DisableWhitespace :ToggleWhitespace
To disable highlighting for the current line in normal mode call:
hardwill maintain whitespace highlighting as it is, but may cause a slow down in Vim since it uses the CursorMoved event to detect and exclude the current line.
softwill use syntax based highlighting, so there shouldn't be a performance hit like with the
hardoption. The drawback is that this highlighting will have a lower priority and may be overwritten by higher priority highlighting.
To re-enable highlighting for the current line in normal mode:
To clean extra whitespace, call:
By default this operates on the entire file. To restrict the portion of the file that it cleans, either give it a range or select a group of lines in visual mode and then execute it.
There is an operator (defaulting to
<leader>s) to clean whitespace. For example, in normal mode,
<leader>sipwill remove trailing whitespace from the current paragraph.
You can change the operator it, for example to set it to _s, using:
<number>_s<space>strips whitespace on <number> lines, and
_s<motion>on the lines affected by the motion given. Set to the empty string to deactivate the operator.
Note: This operator will not be mapped if an existing, user-defined mapping is detected for the provided operator value.
To enable/disable stripping of extra whitespace on file save for a buffer, call one of:
:EnableStripWhitespaceOnSave :DisableStripWhitespaceOnSave :ToggleStripWhitespaceOnSave
This will strip all trailing whitespace everytime you save the file for all file types.
If you want this behaviour by default for all filetypes, add the following to your
let g:strip_whitespace_on_save = 1
For exceptions of all see
If you would prefer to only strip whitespace for certain filetypes, add the following to your
autocmd FileType <desired_filetypes> EnableStripWhitespaceOnSave
<desired_filetypes>is a comma separated list of the file types you want to be stripped of whitespace on file save ( ie.
To disable this plugin for specific file types, add the following to your
let g:better_whitespace_filetypes_blacklist=['<filetype1>', '<filetype2>', '<etc>']
This replaces the filetypes from the default list of blacklisted filetypes. The default types that are blacklisted are:
['diff', 'gitcommit', 'unite', 'qf', 'help', 'markdown']
If you do not want any of these filetypes unignored, simply include them in the blacklist:
let g:better_whitespace_filetypes_blacklist=['<filetype1>', '<filetype2>', '<etc>', 'diff', 'gitcommit', 'unite', 'qf', 'help']
This blacklist can be overriden on a per-buffer basis using the buffer toggle enable and disable commands presented above. For example:
" highlight whitespace in markdown files, though stripping remains disabled by the blacklist :autocmd FileType markdown EnableWhitespace " Do not modify kernel files, even though their type is not blacklisted and highlighting is enabled :autocmd BufRead /usr/src/linux* DisableStripWhitespaceOnSave
To strip white lines at the end of the file when stripping whitespace, set this option in your
To highlight space characters that appear before or in-between tabs, add the following to your
Such spaces can not be automatically removed by this plugin, though you can try
=to fix indentation. You can still navigate to the highlighted spaces with Next/PrevTrailingWhitespace (see below), and fix them manually.
To ignore lines that contain only whitespace, set the following in your
To navigate to the previous or next trailing whitespace, you can use commands that you can map thusly in your
nnoremap ]w :NextTrailingWhitespace<CR> nnoremap [w :PrevTrailingWhitespace<CR>
Note: those command take an optional range as argument, so you can for example select some text in visual mode and search only inside it:
To enable verbose output for each command, set verbosity in your
Supported Whitespace Characters
Due to the fact that the built-in whitespace character class for patterns (
only matches against tabs and spaces, this plugin defines its own list of
horizontal whitespace characters to match for both highlighting and stripping.
This is list should match against all ASCII and Unicode horizontal whitespace characters:
U+0009 TAB U+0020 SPACE U+00A0 NO-BREAK SPACE U+1680 OGHAM SPACE MARK U+180E MONGOLIAN VOWEL SEPARATOR U+2000 EN QUAD U+2001 EM QUAD U+2002 EN SPACE U+2003 EM SPACE U+2004 THREE-PER-EM SPACE U+2005 FOUR-PER-EM SPACE U+2006 SIX-PER-EM SPACE U+2007 FIGURE SPACE U+2008 PUNCTUATION SPACE U+2009 THIN SPACE U+200A HAIR SPACE U+200B ZERO WIDTH SPACE U+202F NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE U+205F MEDIUM MATHEMATICAL SPACE U+3000 IDEOGRAPHIC SPACE U+FEFF ZERO WIDTH NO-BREAK SPACE
A file is provided with samples of each of these characters to check the plugin working with them: whitespace_examples.txt
If you encounter any additional whitespace characters I have missed here, please submit a pull request.
Here are a couple more screenshots of the plugin at work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully some of the most common questions will be answered here. If you still have a question that I have failed to address, please open an issue and ask it!
Q: Why is trailing whitespace such a big deal?
A: In most cases it is not a syntactical issue, but rather is a common annoyance among programmers.
Q: Why not just use
A: I tried using
listchars to show trail characters with
SpecialKey highlighting applied.
Using this method the characters would still show on the current line for me even when the
SpecialKey foreground highlight matched the
CursorLine background highlight.
Q: Okay, so
listchars doesn't do exactly what you want, why not just use a
match in your
A: I am using
match in this plugin, but I've also added a way to exclude the current line in
insert mode and/or normal mode.
Q: If you just want to exclude the current line, why not just use syntax-based highlight rather
A: Syntax-based highlighting is an option in this plugin. It is used to omit the current line when
CurrentLineWhitespaceOff soft. The only issue with this method is that
takes higher priorty than syntax highlighting. For example, when using a plugin such as
Indent Guides, syntax-based highlighting of
extra whitespace will not highlight additional white space on emtpy lines.
Q: I already have my own method of removing white space, why is the method used in this plugin better?
A: It may not be, depending on the method you are using. The method used in this plugin strips extra white space and then restores the cursor position and last search history.
Q: Most of this is pretty easy to just add to users'
vimrc files. Why make it a plugin?
A: It is true that a large part of this is fairly simple to make a part of an individuals
configuration in their
vimrc. I wanted to provide something that is easy to setup and use
for both those new to Vim and others who don't want to mess around setting up this
functionality in their
Q: Can you add indentation highlighting for spaces/tabs? Can you add highlighting for other types of white space?
A: No, and no. Sorry, but both are outside the scope of this plugin. The purpose of this plugin is to provide a better experience for showing and dealing with extra white space. There is already an amazing plugin for showing indentation in Vim called Indent Guides. For other types of white space highlighting, listchars should be sufficient.
Q: I have a better way to do something in this plugin. OR You're doing something stupid/wrong/bad.
A: If you know of a better way to do something I am attempting in this plugin, or if I am doing something improperly/not reccomended then let me know! Please either open an issue informing me or make the changes yourself and open a pull request. If I am doing something that is bad or can be improved, I am more than willing to hear about it!
If you like this plugin, please star it on Github and vote it up at Vim.org!
Repository exists at: http://github.com/ntpeters/vim-better-whitespace
Plugin also hosted at: http://www.vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=4859
Originally inspired by: https://github.com/bronson/vim-trailing-whitespace