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This is a massive (in a good way) Vim plugin for editing Ruby on Rails applications.

  • Easy navigation of the Rails directory structure. gf considers context and knows about partials, fixtures, and much more. There are two commands, :A (alternate) and :R (related) for easy jumping between files, including favorites like model to schema, template to helper, and controller to functional test. Commands like :Emodel, :Eview, :Econtroller, are provided to :edit files by type, along with S, V, and T variants for :split, :vsplit, and :tabedit. Throw a bang on the end (:Emodel foo!) to automatically create the file with the standard boilerplate if it doesn't exist. :help rails-navigation

  • Enhanced syntax highlighting. From has_and_belongs_to_many to distance_of_time_in_words, it's here.

  • Interface to the rails command. Generally, use :Rails console to call rails console. Many commands have wrappers with additional features: :Generate controller Blog generates a blog controller and loads the generated files into the quickfix list, and :Runner wraps rails runner and doubles as a direct test runner. :help rails-exec

  • Default task runner. Use :Rails (with no arguments) to run the current test, spec, or feature. Use :.Rails to do a focused run of just the method, example, or scenario on the current line. :Rails can also run arbitrary migrations, load individual fixtures, and more. :help rails-default-task

  • Partial and concern extraction. In a view, :Extract {file} replaces the desired range (typically selected in visual line mode) with render '{file}', which is automatically created with your content. In a model or controller, a concern is created, with the appropriate include declaration left behind. :help rails-:Extract

  • Fully customizable. Define "projections" at the global, app, or gem level to define navigation commands and override the alternate file, default rake task, syntax highlighting, and more. :help rails-projections.

  • Integration with other plugins. If dispatch.vim is installed, :Rails and other command wrappers will use it for asynchronous execution. Users of dadbod.vim and dbext get easy access to their application's database. Users of abolish.vim get pluralize and tableize coercions, and users of bundler.vim get a smattering of features. :help rails-integration


If you don't have a preferred installation method, I recommend installing pathogen.vim, and then simply copy and paste:

cd ~/.vim/bundle
git clone
vim -u NONE -c "helptags vim-rails/doc" -c q

While not strictly necessary, bundler.vim and dispatch.vim are highly recommended.


I installed the plugin and started Vim. Why does only the :Rails command exist?

This plugin cares about the current file, not the current working directory. Edit a file from a Rails application.

I opened a new tab. Why does only the :Rails command exist?

This plugin cares about the current file, not the current working directory. Edit a file from a Rails application. You can use :AT and the :T family of commands to open a new tab and edit a file at the same time.

Can I use rails.vim to edit Rails engines?

It's not supported, but if you touch config/environment.rb in the root of the engine, things should mostly work.

Can I use rails.vim to edit other Ruby projects?

I wrote rake.vim for exactly that purpose. It activates for any project with a Rakefile that's not a Rails application.

What Rails versions are supported?

All of them, although you may notice a few minor breakages if you dip below 3.0. A few features like syntax highlighting tend to reflect the latest version only.

Didn't rails.vim used to handle indent settings?

It got yanked after increasing contention over JavaScript. Check out sleuth.vim.


Like rails.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.