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*luainspect.txt* Semantic highlighting for Lua in Vim
The Vim plug-in 'luainspect.vim' uses the LuaInspect [1] tool to
(automatically) perform semantic highlighting of variables in Lua source code.
It was inspired by lua2-mode [2] (for Emacs [3]) and the SciTE [4] plug-in
included with LuaInspect. In addition to the semantic highlighting the
following features are currently supported:
- Press '<F2>' with the text cursor on a variable and the plug-in will prompt
you to rename the variable.
- Press 'gd' (in normal mode) with the text cursor on a variable and you'll
jump to its declaration / first occurrence.
- When you hover over a variable with the mouse cursor in graphical Vim,
information about the variable is displayed in a tooltip.
- If the text cursor is on a variable while the highlighting is refreshed then
all occurrences of the variable will be marked in the style of Vim's
cursorline option (see |'cursorline'|).
- When luainspect reports a wrong argument count for a function call the text
will be highlighted with a green underline. When you hover over the
highlighted text a tooltip shows the associated warning message.
- When LuaInspect reports warnings about unused variables, wrong argument
counts, etc. they are shown in a location list window (see |location-list|).
- When a syntax error is found (during highlighting or using the rename
functionality) the lines where the error is reported will be marked like a
spelling error.
Screenshot of semantic highlighting, see reference [5]
Installation ~
Unzip the most recent ZIP archive [6] file inside your Vim profile directory
(usually this is '~/.vim' on UNIX and '%USERPROFILE%\vimfiles' on Windows),
restart Vim and execute the command ':helptags ~/.vim/doc' (use ':helptags
~\vimfiles\doc' instead on Windows). Now try it out: Edit a Lua file and
within a few seconds semantic highlighting should be enabled automatically!
Note that on Windows a command prompt window pops up whenever LuaInspect is
run as an external process. If this bothers you then you can install my
shell.vim [7] plug-in which includes a DLL [8] that works around this issue.
Once you've installed both plug-ins it should work out of the box!
Usage ~
When you open any Lua file the semantic highlighting should be enabled
automatically within a few seconds, so you don't have to configure anything if
you're happy with the defaults.
The *:LuaInspect* command
You don't need to use this command unless you've disabled automatic
highlighting using |g:lua_inspect_events|. When you execute this command the
plug-in runs the LuaInspect tool and then highlights all variables in the
current buffer using one of the following highlighting groups:
- luaInspectGlobalDefined
- luaInspectGlobalUndefined
- luaInspectLocalUnused
- luaInspectLocalMutated
- luaInspectUpValue
- luaInspectParam
- luaInspectLocal
- luaInspectFieldDefined
- luaInspectFieldUndefined
- luaInspectSelectedVariable
- luaInspectWrongArgCount
- luaInspectSyntaxError
If you don't like one or more of the default styles the Vim documentation
describes how to change them (see |:hi-default|). If you want to disable the
semantic highlighting in a specific Vim buffer execute ':LuaInspect!' in that
buffer. When you want to re-enable the highlighting execute |:LuaInspect|
again, but now without the bang (see |:command-bang|).
The *:LuaInspectToggle* command
By default the semantic highlighting and the warning messages in the location
list window are automatically applied to Lua buffers and updated every once in
a while, but this can be disabled by setting |g:lua_inspect_events| to an
empty string in your [vimrc script] [vimrc]. If the plug-in is not
automatically enabled then it may be useful to enable/disable it using a key
mapping. That's what the |:LuaInspectToggle| command is for. You still have to
define your key mapping of choice in your [vimrc script] [vimrc] though. For
" Don't enable the lua-inspect plug-in automatically in Lua buffers.
let g:lua_inspect_events = ''
" Enable/disable the lua-inspect plug-in manually using <F6>.
imap <F6> <C-o>:LuaInspectToggle<CR>
nmap <F6> :LuaInspectToggle<CR>
The *g:loaded_luainspect* option
This variable isn't really an option but if you want to avoid loading the
'luainspect.vim' plug-in you can set this variable to any value in your |vimrc|
:let g:loaded_luainspect = 1
The *g:lua_inspect_warnings* option
When LuaInspect reports warnings about unused variables, wrong argument
counts, etc. they are automatically shown in a location list window (see
|location-list|). If you don't like this add the following to your |vimrc| script:
:let g:lua_inspect_warnings = 0
The *g:lua_inspect_events* option
By default semantic highlighting is automatically enabled after a short
timeout and when you save a buffer. If you want to disable automatic
highlighting altogether add the following to your |vimrc| script:
:let g:lua_inspect_events = ''
You can also add events, for example if you also want to run |:LuaInspect| the
moment you edit a Lua file then try this:
:let g:lua_inspect_events = 'CursorHold,CursorHoldI,BufReadPost,BufWritePost'
Note that this only works when the plug-in is loaded (or reloaded) after
setting the |g:lua_inspect_events| option.
The *g:lua_inspect_internal* option
The plug-in uses the Lua interface for Vim when available so that it doesn't
have to run LuaInspect as an external program (which can slow things down). If
you insist on running LuaInspect as an external program you can set this
variable to false (0) in your |vimrc| script:
:let g:lua_inspect_internal = 0
Contact ~
If you have questions, bug reports, suggestions, etc. the author can be
contacted at The latest version is available at and
If you like this plug-in please vote for it on Vim Online [9].
License ~
This software is licensed under the MIT license [10]. Copyright 2011 Peter
Odding <>.
References ~
vim: ft=help
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