Show subtler color variations than your basic palette-shifting color scheme
JavaScript Vim script Ruby C Go Scala Other
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So many 256-color schemes merely shift the palette around, displaying only 8 colors (even though they're a different set of 8 colors than default).

This scheme is more detailed than that.

Your eyes will learn to pick up on subtler patterns without requiring as much from your conscious mind. Instead of the goal being merely looking cool, the goal is to maximize info bandwidth from the computer to the brain. The regexes, for example, are much easier to pick out. The overall feel of a given file becomes much more intuitively recognizeable (you'll know you're in foo.rb, not bar.rb, without having to read any text). Certain bits will "pop" into being the right colors, such as the difference between "RUBY_VERISON" and "RUBY_VERSION", or # encoding: utf-8

256 Color Requirement

If you aren't getting 256 colors, you aren't getting detailed.vim. Typically, you'll have to make sure your $TERM variable is set right. This can get un-set by some programs, such as tmux. So you can force it to something like:

export TERM=screen-256color
# or:
export TERM=xterm-256color

If these are unavailable on the target system, you might have to place a terminfo file in ~/.terminfo/ -or- you can be totally gross and force it with :set &t_Co=256 in vim. But don't be gross. It's uncouth.


If using Pathogen,

 cd ~/.vim/bundle && git clone

If using no vim plugin manager:

 mkdir -p ~/.vim/colors/ && cd $_ && wget


In your ~/.vimrc (or ~/.vim/plugin/colorscheme.vim if you like to organize):

colo detailed

This enables it globally. If you want to just do it for a trial, as long as you have done one of the steps in the "Download" section, above, you can do:

vim foo.rb +colo\ detailed

Or, from within vim:

:colo detailed

Language Support So Far

  • Ruby: 113 details detailed.
  • C: 12 details detailed.
  • Go: 10 details detailed.
  • Diff: 10 details detailed.
  • Javascript: 4 details detailed.
  • Vim: 4 details detailed.

Note that for fully supported languages (Ruby), you get the whole experience of having the subtle color shades that fingerprint and lint the code when you glance at it.

For the lesser grades mentioned above, you should get a bit more, but know that the syntax/[yourlang].vim has to have enough semantic parsing to make this possible. If you want to go further, you can certainly get a patch in that enhances the syntax parsing inside vim-detailed's colors/detailed.vim file.

For all other languages, even the ones not listed above, you should at least get:

  • Rainbow parens/brackets/curlies (which can be very helpful when the syntax gets deep)
  • Quiet comments (grey, because "a comment is a lie waiting to happen")
  • Strings with gray background (so it looks like a solid chunk)
  • Muted colorcolumn (gray instead of GIANT LOUD RED)
  • A color palette somewhat consistent with the detailed ones


rking/vim-detailed open issues

13 More troubleshooting help? 3 11 Smart Here-docs 1 9 Detail Python [actual-user-request] 4 7 Handle t_Co != 256 6 Pygments Companion 3 Distinguish Foo and Bar of "class Foo < Bar"


This is wrong: