Vim Space Controller
Vim script Go
Latest commit f7987e4 Feb 3, 2016 @szw szw Merge pull request #165 from sappo/master
Problem: Intend used spaces instead of tabs


Welcome to Vim-CtrlSpace, a comprehensive solution for your Vim editor providing:

  • tabs / buffers / files management
  • fast fuzzy searching powered by Go
  • workspaces (sessions)
  • bookmarks for your favorite projects

The plugin name follows the convention of naming fuzzy search plugins after their default mappings (like Command-T or CtrlP), hence the plugin mapping is by default Ctrl + Space.

If you like the plugin please don't forget to leave a ⭐️ for this project! This will help me to estimate the plugin popularity and plan further development :).

If you have already starred this repo, thank you! Thanks to you it's my pet project now :). If you have a question, a feature request, or a new idea, don't hesitate to post new issues or pull requests. Collaboration is the most awesome thing in the open source community!

Version 5

Vim-CtrlSpace started over 2 years ago as a fork of another plugin and the Version 5 is the result of the experience gained during that period and cooperation with the community.

Version 5 is the biggest upgrade in the plugin history. All plugin code has been rewritten from scratch taking user feedback as a great resource of ideas and challenges into account. Thanks to users the plugin has configurable key mappings and allows you to handle projects with 100 000 files!

In case you're curious, Vim-CtrlSpace 5 took me 5 months of spare evenings to complete :).

The most exciting Vim-CtrlSpace 5 features are:

  • better, modular, and extensible code base
  • simplified, well thought-out, and clear design
  • new fuzzy search engine for files (written in Go)
  • more effective and responsive behavior
  • fine-grained configuration

Version 5 is not backward compatible. All configuration variables and API functions have been renamed. Please check Vim help for more info:

:help ctrlspace-configuration

Idea by Analogy

Vim-CtrlSpace interface is a window you can invoke by pressing <C-Space>. The window displays a list of items. You can select those items with <h>, <j>, and <CR> keys.


Generally speaking Vim-CtrlSpace can display 5 types of lists:

  • Buffer List
  • File List
  • Tab List
  • Workspace List
  • Bookmark List

Lists can be explained with a simple analogy. Let's imagine Vim is a writing desk. Your projects are like drawers. The Bookmark List simply displays your favorite projects.

To get documents from a drawer you would need a File List. It allows you to easily look up contents of a given project. Once you locate and pick up a file it becomes a buffer.

A buffer is like a sheet of paper lying on the desk. Sometimes you can have a blank piece of paper – that's a new unsaved buffer. It would become eventually a file on the disk once saved (put into a drawer). To manage all buffers on the desk you would need a Buffer List.

So far our analogy is fairly simple. This workflow is straightforward but inefficient in the long run with a large amount of files. How could we optimize it?

The answer are tabs – a secret weapon of Vim-CtrlSpace. Each tab holds a separate list of buffers. And this is something very different when compared to plain Vim. Tabs powered by the plugin can be seen as piles of documents on the desk.

With tabs you can, for example:

  • group related buffers
  • extract to other tabs
  • name them accordingly
  • move or copy them

Tabs usage in Vim-CtrlSpace is quite more extensive than in Vim. This is because they serve mainly as independent buffer lists, so you are likely to have plenty of them. Tabs can be accessed and managed within Tab List.

All your buffers, tabs, and tab layouts can be persisted as a workspace. It's like taking a picture of your desk with an instant camera. You can save multiple workspaces per project with Workspace List.

Getting Started


If you use Vundle add to your .vimrc:

Plugin 'vim-ctrlspace/vim-ctrlspace'

You can also clone the repository to your .vim directory:

cd ~/.vim
git clone .

Basic Settings

First please make sure that you set nocompatible and hidden options (required by the plugin) in your .vimrc:

set nocompatible
set hidden

If you feel brave enough turn off tabline:

set showtabline=0

Tabline in Vim has very limited capabilities and as Vim-CtrlSpace makes use of tabs intensively, tabline would just get in your way. Tab List (<l>) makes tabline obsolete ;).

Go Engine

The plugin provides engine compiled for popular operating systems and architectures. By default it will attempt to detect your os and architecture. To see if auto detection was successful press <?>.

To find more about file engines check:

:help g:CtrlSpaceFileEngine


Vim-Ctrlspace displays icons in the UI if your font supports UTF8, or ASCII characters as a fallback. Some symbols (glyphs) might not look well with the font you are using, so feel free to change and adjust them.

This is the config I use for Inconsolata font in MacVim:

if has("gui_running")
    " Settings for MacVim and Inconsolata font
    let g:CtrlSpaceSymbols = { "File": "", "CTab": "", "Tabs": "" }

Since it's impossible to provide universal character set that would look well on any machine, therefore the fine tuning is left up to you.

You can find more about this tuning option in the plugin help:

:help g:CtrlSpaceSymbols

If you feel that you have found a better symbol for a given view, you are more than welcome to open a pull request.

Glob Command

Another important setting is the Glob command. This command is used to collect all files in your project directory. Specifically, I recommend that you install and use ag, as it respects .gitignore rules and is really fast. Once it's installed you can add this line to your .vimrc:

if executable("ag")
    let g:CtrlSpaceGlobCommand = 'ag -l --nocolor -g ""'

Search Timing

If you usually have to deal with huge projects having 100 000 files you can increase plugin fuzzy search delay to make it even more responsible by providing a higher g:CtrlSpaceSearchTiming value:

let g:CtrlSpaceSearchTiming = 500


Finally, you can adjust some plugin colors. By default plugin uses the following setup:

hi link CtrlSpaceNormal   PMenu
hi link CtrlSpaceSelected PMenuSel
hi link CtrlSpaceSearch   Search
hi link CtrlSpaceStatus   StatusLine

However some color schemes show search results with the same colors as PMenu groups. If that's your case try to link CtrlSpaceSearch highlight group to IncSearch instead:

hi link CtrlSpaceSearch IncSearch

Of course nothing prevents you from providing your own highlighting, for example:

hi CtrlSpaceSearch guifg=#cb4b16 guibg=NONE gui=bold ctermfg=9 ctermbg=NONE term=bold cterm=bold

First Steps

Alright! You've hopefully installed, configured Vim-CtrlSpace, and restarted Vim (otherwise do it!). Now you're wondering how to start using this thing.

First, you need to select a project. Vim operates in a directory, described as CWD (Current Working Directory). If you've just started a MacVim it's probably pointing to your home directory (issue :pwd to check it).

I advise you to add a project to the Bookmark List by opening the plugin window (<C-Space>) and pressing <b>. The plugin will ask for a project directory.

Make sure that the path is not your home directory. Otherwise the plugin will start indexing all your files which will be pointless and resource exhaustive. Be concrete and provide a real path to a project. Once your bookmark is created, you can go there with <CR>.

Now open some files with <o>. Finally save a workspace with <w> by providing your first workspace name.

For more information please check out Vim-CtrlSpace help directly in Vim:

:help ctrlspace

For key reference press <?> inside the plugin window.

Fuzzy Search Hints

If you are used to hitting the <ctrl-P> key combination for fuzzy search, add this to your .vimrc file:

nnoremap <silent><C-p> :CtrlSpace O<CR>

Be sure to remember to refresh your search file list using <r> command.

Automatically Saving Workspace

Ctrl-Space can automatically save your workspace status based on configurations below:

let g:CtrlSpaceLoadLastWorkspaceOnStart = 1
let g:CtrlSpaceSaveWorkspaceOnSwitch = 1
let g:CtrlSpaceSaveWorkspaceOnExit = 1

Authors and License

Copyright © 2013-2015 Szymon Wrozynski and Contributors. Licensed under MIT License conditions.

Vim-CtrlSpace is inspired by Robert Lillack plugin VIM bufferlist © 2005 Robert Lillack. Moreover some concepts and inspiration has been taken from Vim-Tabber by Jim Steward and Tabline by Matthew Kitt.

Special thanks to Wojtek Ryrych for help and patience ;) and all Contributors.