Skip to content
Send commands from text to interactive programs
Vim script
Branch: master
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Type Name Latest commit message Commit time
Failed to load latest commit information.
autoload Visual selection now works Oct 31, 2019



vimteractive:send commands from text files to interactive programs via vim
Author: Will Handley
Version: 2.1.0
Documentation::help vimteractive

Vimteractive was inspired by the workflow of the vim-ipython plugin.

This plugin is designed to extend a subset of the functionality of vim-ipython to other interpreters (including ipython). It is based around the unix philosophy of "do one thing and do it well". Vimteractive aims to provide a robust and simple link between text files and interactive interpreters. Vimteractive will never aim to do things like autocompletion, leaving that to other, more developed tools such as YouCompleteMe.

The activating commands are

  • ipython :Iipython
  • python :Ipython
  • julia :Ijulia
  • maple :Imaple
  • bash :Ibash
  • zsh :Izsh
  • clojure :Iclojure
  • autodetect based on filetype :Iterm

Commands may be sent from a text file to the chosen terminal using CTRL-S. If there is no terminal, CTRL-S will automatically open one for you using :Iterm.

It's highly recommended to set your default Python shell to IPython (see "Extending functionality" section for instructions). If you prefer not to do it, make sure, that every top-level block has at least one newline after it.


Since this package leverages the native vim interactive terminal, vimteractive is only compatible with vim 8 or greater.

To use the key-bindings, you should first disable the CTRL-S default, which is a terminal command to freeze the output. You can disable this by putting

stty -ixon

into your .bashrc (or equivalent shell profile file).

Installation should be relatively painless via the usual routes such as Vundle, Pathogen or the vim 8 native package manager (:help packages). If you're masochistic enough to use Arch/Manjaro, you can install vimteractive via the aur. For old-school users, there is also a package on the vim repo. Depending on your package manager, you may need to run :helptags <path/to/repo/docs> to install the help documentation.


IPython and Jupyter are excellent tools for exploratory analyses in python. They leverage the interactivity of the python kernel to allow you to keep results of calculations in memory whilst developing further code to process them.

However, I can't stand typing into anything other than vim. Anywhere else, my screen fills with hjklEB, or worse, I close the window with a careless <C-w>. I want a technique that allows me to operate on plain text files, but still be able to work interactively with the interpreter with minimal effort.

Many Projects achieve this with a varying level of functionality. Vimteractive aims to create the simplest tool for sending things from text to interpreter, and making it easy to add additional interpreters. In particular, my main aim in starting this was to get a vim-ipython like interface to the command line maple.


Example usage:


Create a python file with the following content:

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy

fig, ax = plt.subplots()
x = numpy.linspace(-2,2,1000)
y = x**3-x
ax.plot(x, y)

Now start an ipython interpreter in vim with :Iipython. You should see a preview window open above with your ipython prompt. Position your cursor over the first line of, and press CTRL-S. You should see this line now appear in the first prompt of the preview window. Do the same with the second and fourth lines. At the fourth line, you should see a figure appear once it's constructed with plt.subplots(). Continue by sending lines to the interpreter. You can send multiple lines by doing a visual selection and pressing CTRL-S.

If you switch windows with CTRL-W+k, you will see the terminal buffer switch to a more usual looking normal-mode buffer, from which you can perform traditional normal mode commands. However, if you try to insert, you will enter the terminal, and be able to enter commands interactively into the prompt as if you had run it in the command line. You can save this buffer if you wish to a new file if it contains valuable output

You may want to send lines to one terminal from two buffers. To achieve that, run :Iconn <buffer_name> where <buffer_name> is a name of buffer containing terminal. If there is only one terminal, you can use just :Iconn.

Supported terminals

  • :Iipython Activate an ipython terminal
  • :Ipython Activate a python terminal
  • :Ijulia Activate a julia terminal
  • :Imaple Activate a maple terminal
  • :Ibash Activate a bash terminal
  • :Izsh Activate a zsh terminal
  • :Iclojure Activate a clojure terminal
  • :Iterm Activate default terminal for this filetype

Sending commands

CTRL-S sends lines of text to the interpreter in a mode-dependent manner:

In Normal mode, CTRL-S sends the line currently occupied by the cursor the terminal.

In Insert mode, CTRL-S sends the line currently being edited, and then returns to insert mode at the same location.

In Visual mode, CTRL-S sends the current selection to the terminal.

ALT-S sends all lines from the start to the current line.

Extending functionality

This project is very much in an alpha phase, so if you have any issues that arise on your system, feel free to leave an issue or create a fork and pull request with your proposed changes

You can easily add your interpreter to Vimteractive, using the following code in your .vimrc:

" Mapping from Vimterpreter command to shell command
" This would give you :Iasyncpython command
let g:vimteractive_commands = {
    \ 'asyncpython': 'python3 -m asyncio'
    \ }

" If you see strange symbols like ^[[200~ when sending lines
" to your new interpreter, disable bracketed paste for it.
" You can also try it when your shell is misbehaving some way.
" It's needed for any standard Python REPL including
" python3 -m asyncio
let g:vimteractive_bracketed_paste = {
    \ 'asyncpython': 0
    \ }

" If you want to set interpreter as default (used by :Iterm),
" map filetype to it. If not set, :Iterm will use interpreter
" named same with filetype.
let g:vimteractive_default_shells = {
    \ 'python': 'asyncpython'
    \ }

" If your interpreter startup time is big, you may want to
" wait before sending commands. Set time in milliseconds in
" this dict to do it. This is not needed for python3, but
" can be useful for other REPLs like Clojure.
let g:vimteractive_slow_prompt = {
    \ 'asyncpython': 200
    \ }

Similar projects



Visual selection improvement


Multiple terminal functionality


Autodetection of terminals


CtrlP bugfix


Added julia support


Buffer rename


Added zsh support

  • no line numbers in terminal window
  • Bracketed paste seems to fix most of ipython issues.
  • ALT-S sends all lines from start to current line.
You can’t perform that action at this time.