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Manage your 'runtimepath' with ease. In practical terms, pathogen.vim makes it super easy to install plugins and runtime files in their own private directories.

For new users, I recommend using Vim's built-in package management instead. :help packages


Install to ~/.vim/autoload/pathogen.vim. Or copy and paste the following into your terminal/shell:

mkdir -p ~/.vim/autoload ~/.vim/bundle && \
curl -LSso ~/.vim/autoload/pathogen.vim

If you're using Windows, change all occurrences of ~/.vim to ~\vimfiles.

Runtime Path Manipulation

Add this to your vimrc:

execute pathogen#infect()

If you're brand new to Vim and lacking a vimrc, vim ~/.vimrc and paste in the following super-minimal example:

execute pathogen#infect()
syntax on
filetype plugin indent on

Now any plugins you wish to install can be extracted to a subdirectory under ~/.vim/bundle, and they will be added to the 'runtimepath'. Observe:

cd ~/.vim/bundle && \
git clone

Now sensible.vim is installed. If you really want to get crazy, you could set it up as a submodule in whatever repository you keep your dot files in. I don't like to get crazy.

If you don't like the directory name bundle, you can pass a runtime relative glob as an argument:

execute pathogen#infect('stuff/{}')

The {} indicates where the expansion should occur.

You can also pass an absolute path instead. I keep the plugins I maintain under ~/src, and this is how I add them:

execute pathogen#infect('bundle/{}', '~/src/vim/bundle/{}')

Normally to generate documentation, Vim expects you to run :helptags on each directory with documentation (e.g., :helptags ~/.vim/doc). Provided with pathogen.vim is a :Helptags command that does this on every directory in your 'runtimepath'. If you really want to get crazy, you could even invoke Helptags in your vimrc. I don't like to get crazy.

Finally, pathogen.vim has a rich API that can manipulate 'runtimepath' and other comma-delimited path options in ways most people will never need to do. If you're one of those edge cases, look at the source. It's well documented.

Native Vim Package Management

Vim 8 includes support for package management in a manner similar to pathogen.vim. If you'd like to transition to this native support, pathogen.vim can help. Calling pathogen#infect() on an older version of Vim will supplement the bundle/{} default with pack/{}/start/{}, effectively backporting a subset of the new native functionality.

Runtime File Editing

:Vopen, :Vedit, :Vsplit, :Vvsplit, :Vtabedit, :Vpedit, and :Vread have all moved to scriptease.vim.


Can I put pathogen.vim in a submodule like all my other plugins?

Sure, stick it under ~/.vim/bundle, and prepend the following to your vimrc:

runtime bundle/vim-pathogen/autoload/pathogen.vim

Or if your bundles are somewhere other than ~/.vim (say, ~/src/vim):

source ~/src/vim/bundle/vim-pathogen/autoload/pathogen.vim

Will you accept these 14 pull requests adding a .gitignore for tags so I don't see untracked changes in my dot files repository?

No, but I'll teach you how to ignore tags globally:

git config --global core.excludesfile '~/.cvsignore'
echo tags >> ~/.cvsignore

While any filename will work, I've chosen to follow the ancient tradition of .cvsignore because utilities like rsync use it, too. Clever, huh?

What about Vimballs?

If you really must use one:

:e name.vba
:!mkdir ~/.vim/bundle/name
:UseVimball ~/.vim/bundle/name

Why don't my plugins load when I use Vim sessions?

Vim sessions default to capturing all global options, which includes the 'runtimepath' that pathogen.vim manipulates. This can cause other problems too, so I recommend turning that behavior off:

set sessionoptions-=options


If your commit message sucks, I'm not going to accept your pull request. I've explained very politely dozens of times that my general guidelines are absolute rules on my own repositories, so I may lack the energy to explain it to you yet another time. And please, if I ask you to change something, git commit --amend.

Beyond that, don't be shy about asking before patching. What takes you hours might take me minutes simply because I have both domain knowledge and a perverse knowledge of Vim script so vast that many would consider it a symptom of mental illness. On the flip side, some ideas I'll reject no matter how good the implementation is. "Send a patch" is an edge case answer in my book.


Like pathogen.vim? Follow the repository on GitHub and vote for it on And if you're feeling especially charitable, follow tpope on Twitter and GitHub.


Copyright (c) Tim Pope. Distributed under the same terms as Vim itself. See :help license.