CoffeeScript support for vim
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This project adds CoffeeScript support to the vim editor. It handles syntax, indenting, and compiling. Also included is an eco syntax and support for CoffeeScript in HTML.


Simple Installation

This is the quickest way to get things running.

  1. Download the latest zipball from or github.

  2. Extract the archive into ~/.vim/:

     unzip -od ~/.vim

These steps are also used to update the plugin.

Pathogen Installation

Since this plugin has rolling versions based on git commits, using pathogen and git is the preferred way to install. The plugin ends up contained in its own directory, and updates are just a git pull away.

  1. Install tpope's pathogen into ~/.vim/autoload/ and add this line to your vimrc:

     call pathogen#infect()

    To get the all the features of this plugin, make sure you also have a filetype plugin indent on line.

  1. Create and change into ~/.vim/bundle/:

     $ mkdir ~/.vim/bundle
     $ cd ~/.vim/bundle
  2. Make a clone of the vim-coffee-script repository:

     $ git clone


  1. Change into ~/.vim/bundle/vim-coffee-script/:

     $ cd ~/.vim/bundle/vim-coffee-script
  2. Pull in the latest changes:

     $ git pull

CoffeeMake: Compile the Current File

The CoffeeMake command compiles the current file and parses any errors:




The full signature of the command is:

:[silent] CoffeeMake[!] [COFFEE-OPTIONS]...

By default, CoffeeMake shows all compiler output and jumps to the first line reported as an error by coffee:


Compiler output can be hidden with silent:

:silent CoffeeMake

Line-jumping can be turned off by adding a bang:


Options given to CoffeeMake are passed along to coffee:

:CoffeeMake --bare

Recompile on write

To recompile a file when it is written, add an autocmd like this to your vimrc:

au BufWritePost *.coffee silent CoffeeMake!

All of the customizations above can be used, too. This one compiles silently and with the -b option, but shows any errors:

au BufWritePost *.coffee silent CoffeeMake! -b | cwindow | redraw!

The redraw! command is needed to fix a redrawing quirk in terminal vim, but can removed for gVim.

Default compiler options

The CoffeeMake command passes any options in the coffee_make_options variable along to the compiler. You can use this to set default options:

let coffee_make_options = "--bare"

CoffeeCompile: Compile Snippets of CoffeeScript

The CoffeeCompile command shows how the current file or a snippet of CoffeeScript is compiled to JavaScript. The full signature of the command is:

:[RANGE] CoffeeCompile [watch|unwatch] [vert[ical]] [WINDOW-SIZE]

Calling CoffeeCompile without a range compiles the whole file:



Calling CoffeeCompile with a range, like in visual mode, compiles the selected snippet of CoffeeScript:

CoffeeCompile Snippet

Compiled Snippet

This scratch buffer can be quickly closed by hitting the q key.

Using vert splits the CoffeeCompile buffer vertically instead of horizontally:

:CoffeeCompile vert

The initial size of the CoffeeCompile buffer can be given as a number:

:CoffeeCompile 4

Watch (live preview) mode

Watch mode brings to vim the "Try CoffeeScript" live preview box on the CoffeeScript homepage (or something like it):

Watch Mode Watch Mode Watch Mode

Use watch to start watching a buffer (vert is also recommended):

:CoffeeCompile watch vert

After making some changes in insert mode, hit escape and the CoffeeScript will be recompiled. Changes made outside of insert mode don't trigger this recompile, but calling CoffeeCompile will compile these changes without any bad effects.

To get synchronized scrolling of a CoffeeScript and CoffeeCompile buffer, set scrollbind on each:

:setl scrollbind

Use unwatch to stop watching a buffer:

:CoffeeCompile unwatch

CoffeeRun: Run some CoffeeScript

The CoffeeRun command compiles the current file or selected snippet and runs the resulting JavaScript. Output is shown at the bottom of the screen:


CoffeeRun Output


You can configure plugin behavior by adding the relevant lines to your vimrc.

Disable trailing whitespace error

Trailing whitespace is highlighted as an error by default. This can be disabled with:

hi link coffeeSpaceError NONE

Disable trailing semicolon error

Trailing semicolons are also considered an error (for help transitioning from JavaScript.) This can be disabled with:

hi link coffeeSemicolonError NONE

Disable reserved words error

Reserved words like function and var are highlighted as an error where they're not allowed in CoffeeScript. This can be disabled with:

hi link coffeeReservedError NONE

Tuning Vim for CoffeeScript

Changing these core settings can make vim more CoffeeScript friendly.

Fold by indentation

Folding by indentation works well for CoffeeScript functions and classes:


To fold by indentation in CoffeeScript files, add this line to your vimrc:

au BufNewFile,BufReadPost *.coffee setl foldmethod=indent nofoldenable

With this, folding is disabled by default but can be quickly toggled per-file by hitting zi. To enable folding by default, remove nofoldenable:

au BufNewFile,BufReadPost *.coffee setl foldmethod=indent

Two-space indentation

To get standard two-space indentation in CoffeeScript files, add this line to your vimrc:

au BufNewFile,BufReadPost *.coffee setl shiftwidth=2 expandtab