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This is a vim syntax plugin for Ansible 2.x, it supports YAML playbooks, Jinja2 templates, and Ansible's hosts files.

  • YAML playbooks are detected if:
    • they are in the group_vars or host_vars folder
    • they are in the tasks, roles, or handlers folder and have either a .yml or .yaml suffix
    • they are named playbook.y(a)ml, site.y(a)ml, or main.y(a)ml
  • Jinja2 templates are detected if they have a .j2 suffix
  • Files named hosts will be treated as Ansible hosts files

You can also set the filetype to yaml.ansible, *.jinja2, or ansible_hosts if auto-detection does not work (e.g. :set ft=yaml.ansible or :set ft=ruby.jinja2). Note: If you want to detect a custom pattern of your own, you can easily add this in your .vimrc using something like this:

au BufRead,BufNewFile */playbooks/*.yml set filetype=yaml.ansible

If you want to override the default file type detection you can easily do this in your .vimrc. For example if you use YAML syntax for hosts include something like this:

augroup ansible_vim_fthosts
  autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead hosts setfiletype yaml.ansible
augroup END

This plugin should be quite reliable, as it sources the original formats and simply modifies the highlights as appropriate. This also enables a focus on simplicity and configurability instead of patching bad syntax detection.

examples (with solarized colorscheme)
Bright (and selective highlight) Dim

Use your favorite plugin manager, or try vim-plug if you're looking for a really nice one!

vim-plug: Plug 'pearofducks/ansible-vim'

vim-plug with post-update hook: Plug 'pearofducks/ansible-vim', { 'do': './UltiSnips/' }

Note: Because of Ansible API changes, may require the latest (or near-latest) version of Ansible.

Note2: can receive some parameters, for more info see its Readme

vundle: Plugin 'pearofducks/ansible-vim'

pathogen: git clone ~/.vim/bundle/ansible-vim

Arch Linux: Package vim-ansible is available in the community repository.

Fedora: The vim-ansible package is available in the default repository.

RHEL/CentOS: The vim-ansible package is available in the EPEL repository.



let g:ansible_unindent_after_newline = 1

When this variable is set, indentation will completely reset (unindent to column 0) after two newlines in insert-mode. The normal behavior of YAML is to always keep the previous indentation, even across multiple newlines with no content.


let g:ansible_yamlKeyName = 'yamlKey'

This option exists to provide additional compatibility with stephpy/vim-yaml.


let g:ansible_attribute_highlight = "ob"

Ansible modules use a key=value format for specifying module-attributes in playbooks. This highlights those as specified. This highlight option is also used when highlighting key/value pairs in hosts files.

Available flags (bold are defaults):

  • a: highlight all instances of key=
  • o: highlight only instances of key= found on newlines
  • d: dim the instances of key= found
  • b: brighten the instances of key= found
  • n: turn this highlight off completely

let g:ansible_name_highlight = 'd'

Ansible modules commonly start with a name: key for self-documentation of playbooks. This option enables/changes highlight of this.

Available flags (this feature is off by default):

  • d: dim the instances of name: found
  • b: brighten the instances of name: found

let g:ansible_extra_keywords_highlight = 1

Note: This option is enabled when set, and disabled when not set.

Highlight the following additional keywords in playbooks: register always_run changed_when failed_when no_log args vars delegate_to ignore_errors

By default we only highlight: include until retries delay when only_if become become_user block rescue always notify


let g:ansible_normal_keywords_highlight = 'Constant'

Accepts any syntax group name from :help E669 - e.g. Comment, Constant, and Identifier

Note: Defaults to 'Statement' when not set.

This option change the highlight of the following common keywords in playbooks: include until retries delay when only_if become become_user block rescue always notify


let g:ansible_with_keywords_highlight = 'Constant'

Accepts any syntax group-name from :help E669 - e.g. Comment, Constant, and Identifier

Note: Defaults to 'Statement' when not set.

This option changes the highlight of all with_.+ keywords and loop in playbooks.


let g:ansible_template_syntaxes = { '*.rb.j2': 'ruby' }

Accepts a dictionary in the form of 'regex-for-file': 'filetype'.

  • regex-for-file will receive the full filepath, so directory matching can be done.
  • filetype is the root filetype to be applied, jinja2 will be automatically appended

All files ending in *.j2 that aren't matched will simply get the jinja2 filetype.

goto role under cursor (similar to gf)

This behavior is not supported out of the box, but you can use this snippet in your vimrc.

You'll then be able to go to a role's definition with <leader>gr.

bugs, suggestions/requests, & contributions


It's unlikely that there will be bugs in highlighting that don't exist in the core format. Where appropriate these will be fixed in this plugin, but if the problem is with the original syntax we should probably focus on fixing that instead.

Indenting a full document - e.g with gg=G - will not be supported and is not a goal of this plugin (unless someone else develops it!). Please do not file a bug report on this.


Suggestions for improvements are welcome, pull-requests with completed features even more so. :)

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