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*reload.txt* Automatic reloading of Vim scripts
The [reload.vim][reload] plug-in automatically reloads various types of Vim
scripts as you're editing them in Vim to give you instant feedback on the
changes you make. For example while writing a Vim syntax script you can open a
split window of the relevant file type and every time you |:update| your syntax
script, [reload.vim][reload] will refresh the syntax highlighting in the split
window. Automatic reloading of Vim scripts is currently supported for the
following types of scripts:
- Standard plug-ins (see |standard-plugin|) located in '~/.vim/plugin' on UNIX,
'~\vimfiles\plugin' on Windows;
- Auto-load scripts (see |autoload|) located in or below '~/.vim/autoload' on
UNIX, '~\vimfiles\autoload' on Windows;
- File-type plug-ins (see |filetype-plugins|) located in or below
'~/.vim/ftplugin' on UNIX, '~\vimfiles\ftplugin' on Windows;
- Syntax highlighting scripts (see |syntax-highlighting|) located in
'~/.vim/syntax' on UNIX, '~\vimfiles\syntax' on Windows;
- File-type indentation plug-ins (see |30.3|) located in '~/.vim/indent' on
UNIX, '~\vimfiles\indent' on Windows;
- Color scheme scripts (see |:colorscheme|) located in '~/.vim/colors' on UNIX,
'~\vimfiles\colors' on Windows.
The directories listed above are Vim's defaults but you're free to change the
|'runtimepath'| and reloading will still work.
Note that |vimrc| scripts are not reloaded because that seems to cause more
trouble than it's worth...
Install & first use ~
Unzip the most recent ZIP archive [1] 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 any Vim script
that's already loaded (you can check using the |:scriptnames| command) and
confirm that the script is reloaded when you save it (the reload.vim plug-in
will print a message to confirm when a script is reloaded).
Out of the box the reload.vim plug-in is configured to automatically reload
all Vim scripts that it knows how to. If you like it this way then you don't
need to configure anything! However if you don't like the automatic reloading
then you'll need the following:
The *g:reload_on_write* option
If you don't like automatic reloading because it slows Vim down or causes
problems you can add the following line to your |vimrc| script:
let g:reload_on_write = 0
This disables automatic reloading which means you'll have to reload scripts
using the command discussed below.
The *:ReloadScript* command
You can execute the |:ReloadScript| command to reload the Vim script you're
editing. If you provide a script name as argument to the command then that
script will be reloaded instead, e.g.:
:ReloadScript ~/.vim/plugin/reload.vim
If after executing this command you see Vim errors such as "Function already
exists" (|E122|) or "Command already exists" (|E174|) then you'll need to change
your Vim script(s) slightly to enable reloading, see below.
Things that prevent reloading ~
If you want your Vim plug-ins and/or other scripts to be automatically
reloaded they'll have to be written a certain way, though you can consider the
following points good practice for Vim script writing anyway:
Use a bang in command and function definitions! ~
Function and command definitions using Vim's |:command| and |:function| built-ins
should include a bang (!) (see |:command-bang|) symbol, otherwise Vim will
complain that the command or function already exists:
" Bad:
:command MyCmd call MyFun()
:function MyFun()
" Good:
:command! MyCmd call MyFun()
:function! MyFun()
Use automatic command groups ~
Automatic commands using Vim's |:autocmd| built-in should be defined inside of
an automatic command group (see |:augroup|) that's cleared so the automatic
commands don't stack indefinitely when your |:autocmd| commands are executed
several times:
" Bad example: If the following line were re-evaluated, the message would
" appear multiple times the next time the automatic command fires:
:autocmd TabEnter * echomsg "Entered tab page"
" Good example: The following three lines can be reloaded without the
" message appearing multiple times:
:augroup MyPlugin
: autocmd! TabEnter * echomsg "Entered tab page"
:augroup END
Alternatives ~
The ReloadScript [2] plug-in on Vim Online also supports reloading of Vim
scripts, but there are a few notable differences:
- This plug-in focuses on automatic reloading (I'm lazy) while the other one
requires manual reloading;
- This plug-in will never |:source| a file that hasn't already been loaded by
Vim -- it checks using Vim's |:scriptnames| command;
- This plug-in can more or less reload itself ;-)
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 the plug-in please vote for it on Vim Online [3].
License ~
This software is licensed under the MIT license [4]. Copyright 2011 Peter
Odding <>.
References ~
vim: ft=help
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