Choosing a Vim Plugin Manager

Command Line – Vim Plugin Managers

© Lead Image © Danila Krylov,

© Lead Image © Danila Krylov,

Article from Issue 230/2020

A plugin manager can help you corral your growing collection of Vim plugins. Choosing one depends on your personal preferences.

New users of the Vim text editor may be content to use it as installed from their distribution's repositories. However, Vim has hundreds of plugins, and installing one often leads to adding more out of curiosity. However, multiple plugins can quickly become a management nightmare, because unadorned Vim dumps plugins into one directory, which makes file management difficult.

As a result, a variety of Vim plugin managers have been released over the years. Several begin by installing each plugin to a separate directory to simplify file management. Most involve creating and editing a ~.vimrc file in your home directory. Some are plugins themselves, while a few operate at least partly outside of Vim's structure. Many are housed on GitHub, with instructions specialized for that site.

Listed here are some of the most common Vim plugins that run from the command line. Each makes its own assumptions about its users' knowledge or preferences. Only basic instructions are given, but most of the managers are well-documented online.


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