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Vim and Neovim plugin to reveal the commit messages under the cursor


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git-messenger.vim is a Vim/Neovim plugin to reveal the hidden message from Git under the cursor quickly. It shows the history of commits under the cursor in popup window.

This plugin shows the message of the last commit in a 'popup window'. If the last commit is not convenient, you can explore older commits in the popup window. Additionally you can also check diff of the commit.

The popup window is implemented in

  • Floating window on Neovim (0.4 or later)
  • Preview window on Vim (8 or later) or Neovim (0.3 or earlier)

The floating window is definitely recommended since it can shows the information near the cursor.

I wrote a Japanese blogpost for this plugin.


When you're modifying unfamiliar codes, you would sometimes wonder 'why was this line added?' or 'why this value was chosen?' in the source code. The answer sometimes lays in a commit message, especially in message of the last commit which modifies the line.


Show popup window with Neovim v0.4.0-dev

main screenshot

Exploring older commits

history screenshot

Exploring diff of the commit (you may be also interested in g:git_messenger_include_diff)

diff screenshot

Switching unified diffs and word diffs

word diff screenshot


Please ensure the following requirement before installing this plugin.

  • Git v1.8.5 or later (for -C option of git command)

If you use any package manager, please follow its instruction.

With vim-plug:

Plug 'rhysd/git-messenger.vim'

With dein.vim:

call dein#add('rhysd/git-messenger.vim', {
            \   'lazy' : 1,
            \   'on_cmd' : 'GitMessenger',
            \   'on_map' : '<Plug>(git-messenger)',
            \ })

With minpac:

call minpac#add('rhysd/git-messenger.vim')

if you use Vim's builtin packager, please follow the instruction at :help pack-add.

To enable a floating window support, you need to install Neovim 0.4 or later. Please follow the official instruction.

To check if Neovim's floating window feature is available, try :checkhealth.


Only one mapping (or one command) provides all features of this plugin. Briefly, move cursor to the position and run :GitMessenger or <Leader>gm. If you see an error message, please try health check.



Behavior of this command is depending on the situation. You can do every operations only with this mapping.

  • Normally, it opens a popup window with the last commit message
  • When a popup window is already open, it moves cursor into the window
  • When a cursor is within a popup window, it closes the window

It opens a popup window with the last commit message which modified the line at cursor. The popup window shows following contents:

  • History: History: {page number} In popup window, o/O navigates to previous/next commit.
  • Commit: Commit: {hash} The commit hash
  • Author: Author: {name}<{email}> Author name and mail address of the commit
  • Committer: Committer: {name}<{email}> Committer name and mail address of the commit when committer is different from author
  • Date: Date: {date} Author date of the commit in system format
    • When a committer date and an author date are different (e.g. the commit was created again with git commit --amend), both Author Date: and Committer Date: are shown.
  • Summary: First line after Date: header line is a summary of commit
  • Body: After summary, commit body is put (if the commit has body)

The popup window will be automatically closed when you move the cursor so you don't need to close it manually.

Running this command while a popup window is open, it moves the cursor into the window. This behavior is useful when the commit message is too long and window cannot show the whole content. By moving the cursor into the popup window, you can see the rest of contents by scrolling it. You can also see the older commits.

Following mappings are defined within popup window.

Mapping Description
q Close the popup window
o older. Back to older commit at the line
O Opposite to o. Forward to newer commit at the line
d Toggle unified diff hunks only in current file of the commit
D Toggle all unified diff hunks of the commit
r Toggle word diff hunks only in current file of the commit
R Toggle all word diff hunks of current commit
? Show mappings help



The same as running :GitMessenger command.

By default, this plugin defines following mapping.

nmap <Leader>gm <Plug>(git-messenger)

If you don't like the default mapping, set g:git_messenger_no_default_mappings to v:true in your .vimrc or init.vim and map the <Plug> mapping to your favorite key sequence.

For example:

nmap <C-w>m <Plug>(git-messenger)

Some other additional <Plug> mappings. Please read :help git-messenger.


Some global variables are available to configure the behavior of this plugin.

g:git_messenger_close_on_cursor_moved (Default: v:true)

When this value is set to v:false, a popup window is no longer closed automatically when moving a cursor after the window is shown up.

g:git_messenger_include_diff (Default: "none")

One of "none", "current", "all".

When this value is not set to "none", a popup window includes diff hunks of the commit at showing up. "current" includes diff hunks of only current file in the commit. "all" includes all diff hunks in the commit.

Please note that typing d/D or r/R in popup window toggle showing diff hunks even if this value is set to "none".

g:git_messenger_git_command (Default: "git")

git command to retrieve commit messages. If your git executable is not in $PATH directories, please specify the path to the executable.

g:git_messenger_no_default_mappings (Default: v:false)

When this value is set to v:true, it does not define any key mappings. <Plug> mappings are still defined since they don't make any conflicts with existing mappings.

g:git_messenger_into_popup_after_show (Default: v:true)

When this value is set to v:false, running :GitMessenger or <plug>(git-messenger) again after showing a popup does not move the cursor in the window.

g:git_messenger_always_into_popup (Default: v:false)

When this value is set to v:true, the cursor goes into a popup window when running :GitMessenger or <Plug>(git-messenger).

g:git_messenger_extra_blame_args (Default: "")

When this variable is set the contents will be appended to the git blame command. Use it to add options (like -w).

g:git_messenger_preview_mods (Default: "")

This variable is effective only when opening preview window (on Neovim (0.3.0 or earlier) or Vim).

Command modifiers for opening preview window. The value will be passed as prefix of :pedit command. For example, setting "botright" to the variable opens a preview window at bottom of the current window. Please see :help <mods> for more details.

g:git_messenger_max_popup_height (Default: v:null)

Max lines of popup window in an integer value. Setting v:null means no limit.

g:git_messenger_max_popup_width (Default: v:null)

Max characters of popup window in an integer value. Setting v:null means no limit.

g:git_messenger_date_format (Default: "%c")

String value to format dates in popup window. Please see :help strftime() to know the details of the format.

" Example: '2019 May 26 03:27:43'
let g:git_messenger_date_format = "%Y %b %d %X"

g:git_messenger_conceal_word_diff_marker (Default: v:true)

When this value is set to v:true, markers for word diffs like [-, -], {+, +} are concealed. Set v:false when you don't want to hide them.

Note: Word diff is enabled by typing "r" in a popup window.

g:git_messenger_floating_win_opts (Default {})

Options passed to nvim_open_win() on opening a popup window. This is useful when you want to override some window options.

The following example will add single border line to the window.

let g:git_messenger_floating_win_opts = { 'border': 'single' }

g:git_messenger_popup_content_margins (Default: v:true)

Setting v:true means adding margins in popup window. Blank lines at the top and bottom of popup content are inserted. And every line is indented with one whitespace character. Setting v:false to this variable removes all the margins.

Popup Window Highlight

This plugin uses color definitions from your colorscheme for highlighting stuffs in popup window by default. This is done by linking highlight groups in syntax/gitmessengerpopup.vim on gitmessengerpopup filetype. Highlights for diff are common with normal diff filetype syntax highlighting.

If the groups don't fit, please rearrange the highlight with :hi link. For example:

" Normal color in popup window with 'CursorLine'
hi link gitmessengerPopupNormal CursorLine

" Header such as 'Commit:', 'Author:' with 'Statement' highlight group
hi link gitmessengerHeader Statement

" Commit hash at 'Commit:' header with 'Special' highlight group
hi link gitmessengerHash Special

" History number at 'History:' header with 'Title' highlight group
hi link gitmessengerHistory Title

For another example, if you want to define colors directly, defining the colors with :hi works fine as follows.

hi gitmessengerPopupNormal term=None guifg=#eeeeee guibg=#333333 ctermfg=255 ctermbg=234
hi gitmessengerHeader term=None guifg=#88b8f6 ctermfg=111
hi gitmessengerHash term=None guifg=#f0eaaa ctermfg=229
hi gitmessengerHistory term=None guifg=#fd8489 ctermfg=210

Note: If your colorscheme does not allocate proper color for NormalFloat, you may need to set proper color to gitmessengerPopupNormal.

Note: gitmessengerPopupNormal is only available on Neovim since winhighlight option is used. On Vim, simply Normal highlight group is used for normal color.

Configuration for Popup Window

Filetype gitmessengerpopup is set in the popup window. Please hook FileType event to do some local setup within a popup window.

For example:

function! s:setup_git_messenger_popup() abort
    " Your favorite configuration here

    " For example, set go back/forward history to <C-o>/<C-i>
    nmap <buffer><C-o> o
    nmap <buffer><C-i> O
autocmd FileType gitmessengerpopup call <SID>setup_git_messenger_popup()

Recent Neovim supports adding border lines to floating windows. git_messenger_floating_win_opts is available to set the options. And g:git_messenger_popup_content_margins can remove margins within popup content if you feel margins are unnecessary.

let g:git_messenger_floating_win_opts = { 'border': 'single' }
let g:git_messenger_popup_content_margins = v:false

popup with border

Health Check

This plugin supports a health checker on Neovim. When you see some error, please run :checkhealth to check your environment is ready for use of this plugin.

On Vim, please install vim-healthcheck and run :CheckHealth. It's a plugin to run :checkhealth on Vim.

Known Issues

  • On Windows, git command installed via MSYS does not work. Please use Git for Windows for now. This issue is tracked at #57.


Distributed under the MIT License


Vim and Neovim plugin to reveal the commit messages under the cursor








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