A set of vim, zsh, git, and tmux configuration files.
Clone or download
Failed to load latest commit information.
bin Remove no-longer functional git-pr script Jul 13, 2018
ctags.d Add universal ctags config support Aug 27, 2018
git_template Change ctag git hook to use universal-ctags tag-relative syntax Jun 13, 2018
hooks fix #524, update plugins Aug 25, 2017
vim Fix vim ctag plugin Aug 27, 2018
zsh Improve successive startup time; fix conflict. Jul 15, 2018
.gitignore Ignore new things in vim/bundle/ Apr 24, 2013
LICENSE Update copyright dates Feb 22, 2016
README-ES.md Update link to maintained Ctrl-P fork Oct 4, 2017
README.md Update copyright year -> 2018 Jan 5, 2018
agignore Use "absolute" paths for agignore Jul 22, 2016
aliases Run `db:test:prepare` task on `migrate` alias Nov 29, 2015
ctags Configure basic ctags for javascript projects Jun 8, 2016
gemrc Disable Rubygem documentation to make Bundler fast Nov 23, 2013
gitconfig git: Use `zebra` for moved line colors Jan 3, 2018
gitignore Git ignore .byebug_history Apr 15, 2016
gitmessage Add co-author prompt to gitmessage template Feb 3, 2018
hushlogin Turn off banner at login Jun 24, 2013
psqlrc \unset QUIET is case sensitive Aug 14, 2014
rcrc Use exclude pattern with RCRC variable Oct 5, 2017
rspec Remove RSpec -- profile option Apr 9, 2014
tmux.conf Use consistent syntax for tmux mappings Dec 28, 2017
vimrc Replace ale#lint with ale#queue - ale#lint no longer supported (#615) Oct 31, 2018
vimrc.bundles Remove Vundle shim and deprecation warning Oct 6, 2017
zshenv Only colorize warning messages if stderr is a tty Oct 23, 2015
zshrc Revert accidental merge from fork (#571) Nov 18, 2017


thoughtbot dotfiles



Set zsh as your login shell:

chsh -s $(which zsh)


Clone onto your laptop:

git clone git://github.com/thoughtbot/dotfiles.git ~/dotfiles

(Or, fork and keep your fork updated).

Install rcm:

brew tap thoughtbot/formulae
brew install rcm

Install the dotfiles:

env RCRC=$HOME/dotfiles/rcrc rcup

After the initial installation, you can run rcup without the one-time variable RCRC being set (rcup will symlink the repo's rcrc to ~/.rcrc for future runs of rcup). See example.

This command will create symlinks for config files in your home directory. Setting the RCRC environment variable tells rcup to use standard configuration options:

  • Exclude the README.md and LICENSE files, which are part of the dotfiles repository but do not need to be symlinked in.
  • Give precedence to personal overrides which by default are placed in ~/dotfiles-local
  • Please configure the rcrc file if you'd like to make personal overrides in a different directory


From time to time you should pull down any updates to these dotfiles, and run


to link any new files and install new vim plugins. Note You must run rcup after pulling to ensure that all files in plugins are properly installed, but you can safely run rcup multiple times so update early and update often!

Make your own customizations

Create a directory for your personal customizations:

mkdir ~/dotfiles-local

Put your customizations in ~/dotfiles-local appended with .local:

  • ~/dotfiles-local/aliases.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/git_template.local/*
  • ~/dotfiles-local/gitconfig.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/psqlrc.local (we supply a blank .psqlrc.local to prevent psql from throwing an error, but you should overwrite the file with your own copy)
  • ~/dotfiles-local/tmux.conf.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.bundles.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/zshrc.local
  • ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/*

For example, your ~/dotfiles-local/aliases.local might look like this:

# Productivity
alias todo='$EDITOR ~/.todo'

Your ~/dotfiles-local/gitconfig.local might look like this:

  l = log --pretty=colored
  colored = format:%Cred%h%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)%an%Creset
  name = Dan Croak
  email = dan@thoughtbot.com

Your ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.local might look like this:

" Color scheme
colorscheme github
highlight NonText guibg=#060606
highlight Folded  guibg=#0A0A0A guifg=#9090D0

If you don't wish to install a vim plugin from the default set of vim plugins in .vimrc.bundles, you can ignore the plugin by calling it out with UnPlug in your ~/.vimrc.bundles.local.

" Don't install vim-scripts/tComment
UnPlug 'tComment'

UnPlug can be used to install your own fork of a plugin or to install a shared plugin with different custom options.

" Only load vim-coffee-script if a Coffeescript buffer is created
UnPlug 'vim-coffee-script'
Plug 'kchmck/vim-coffee-script', { 'for': 'coffee' }

" Use a personal fork of vim-run-interactive
UnPlug 'vim-run-interactive'
Plug '$HOME/plugins/vim-run-interactive'

To extend your git hooks, create executable scripts in ~/dotfiles-local/git_template.local/hooks/* files.

Your ~/dotfiles-local/zshrc.local might look like this:

# load pyenv if available
if which pyenv &>/dev/null ; then
  eval "$(pyenv init -)"

Your ~/dotfiles-local/vimrc.bundles.local might look like this:

Plug 'Lokaltog/vim-powerline'
Plug 'stephenmckinney/vim-solarized-powerline'

zsh Configurations

Additional zsh configuration can go under the ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs directory. This has two special subdirectories: pre for files that must be loaded first, and post for files that must be loaded last.

For example, ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/pre/virtualenv makes use of various shell features which may be affected by your settings, so load it first:

# Load the virtualenv wrapper
. /usr/local/bin/virtualenvwrapper.sh

Setting a key binding can happen in ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/keys:

# Grep anywhere with ^G
bindkey -s '^G' ' | grep '

Some changes, like chpwd, must happen in ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs/post/chpwd:

# Show the entries in a directory whenever you cd in
function chpwd {

This directory is handy for combining dotfiles from multiple teams; one team can add the virtualenv file, another keys, and a third chpwd.

The ~/dotfiles-local/zshrc.local is loaded after ~/dotfiles-local/zsh/configs.

vim Configurations

Similarly to the zsh configuration directory as described above, vim automatically loads all files in the ~/dotfiles-local/vim/plugin directory. This does not have the same pre or post subdirectory support that our zshrc has.

This is an example ~/dotfiles-local/vim/plugin/c.vim. It is loaded every time vim starts, regardless of the file name:

# Indent C programs according to BSD style(9)
set cinoptions=:0,t0,+4,(4
autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead *.[ch] setlocal sw=0 ts=8 noet

What's in it?

vim configuration:

  • Ctrl-P for fuzzy file/buffer/tag finding.
  • Rails.vim for enhanced navigation of Rails file structure via gf and :A (alternate), :Rextract partials, :Rinvert migrations, etc.
  • Run many kinds of tests from vim
  • Set <leader> to a single space.
  • Switch between the last two files with space-space.
  • Syntax highlighting for Markdown, HTML, JavaScript, Ruby, Go, Elixir, more.
  • Use Ag instead of Grep when available.
  • Map <leader>ct to re-index Exuberant Ctags.
  • Use vim-mkdir for automatically creating non-existing directories before writing the buffer.
  • Use vim-plug to manage plugins.

tmux configuration:

  • Improve color resolution.
  • Remove administrative debris (session name, hostname, time) in status bar.
  • Set prefix to Ctrl+s
  • Soften status bar color from harsh green to light gray.

git configuration:

  • Adds a create-branch alias to create feature branches.
  • Adds a delete-branch alias to delete feature branches.
  • Adds a merge-branch alias to merge feature branches into master.
  • Adds an up alias to fetch and rebase origin/master into the feature branch. Use git up -i for interactive rebases.
  • Adds post-{checkout,commit,merge} hooks to re-index your ctags.
  • Adds pre-commit and prepare-commit-msg stubs that delegate to your local config.
  • Adds trust-bin alias to append a project's bin/ directory to $PATH.

Ruby configuration:

  • Add trusted binstubs to the PATH.
  • Load the ASDF version manager.

Shell aliases and scripts:

  • b for bundle.
  • g with no arguments is git status and with arguments acts like git.
  • migrate for rake db:migrate && rake db:rollback && rake db:migrate.
  • mcd to make a directory and change into it.
  • replace foo bar **/*.rb to find and replace within a given list of files.
  • tat to attach to tmux session named the same as the current directory.
  • v for $VISUAL.


Thank you, contributors! Also, thank you to Corey Haines, Gary Bernhardt, and others for sharing your dotfiles and other shell scripts from which we derived inspiration for items in this project.


dotfiles is copyright © 2009-2018 thoughtbot. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.

About thoughtbot


dotfiles is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc. The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.

We love open source software! See our other projects. We are available for hire.