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Vimpager User Manual


vimcat - vim based syntax highlighter


vimcat [options] file1 [file2 ...]


Prints a file to stdout, syntax-highlighting it using vim as a backend.

On GitHub:

To use a different vimrc with vimcat, put your settings into a ~/.vimcatrc.

To disable loading plugins, put "set noloadplugins" into a ~/.vimcatrc file.

If output is not a terminal, it will simply run cat, so using vimcat in pipe commands is safe. If you actually need the ANSI codes, use -o .

vimcat defaults to syntax on and set bg=dark. If you need bg=light do something like this:

alias vimcat="vimcat -c 'set bg=light'"

To use with less, add the following to your ~/.bashrc:

export LESS='-R'
export LESSOPEN='|vimcat -o - %s'


-h | --help | --usage

Print summary of options.

-v | --version

Print the version information.


Display line numbers.

-c cmd

Run a vim command after opening the file. Multiple -c arguments are supported.

--cmd cmd

Run a vim command when entering vim before anything else. Multiple --cmd arguments are supported.

-u vimrc

Use an alternate .vimrc or .vimcatrc.

-o output_file

Write output to output_file instead of the terminal. This works when vimcat is not run on a terminal as well.

If output_file is "-" then output is written to STDOUT. An extra newline will not be output if there isn't one at the end of the file with this option, but will be in normal operation with a terminal.


Squeeze multiple blank lines into one.


Enable debugging output for the shell script part of vimcat.



Set to non-zero value to not silence vim when sourcing the viml and running the highlighting code. Only useful for developers.