Vim Tips Wiki
Tip 130 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created 2001 · complexity intermediate · author Benji Fisher · version 6.0

A file type plugin (ftplugin) is a script that is run automatically when Vim detects the type of file when the file is created or opened. The type can be detected from the file name (for example, file sample.c has file type c), or from the file contents.


For an overview of file type plugins see :help ftplugins.

Disabling default ftplugins[]

If you want to disable all ftplugins, or disable a particular default ftplugin, see :help :filetype and :help ftplugin-overrule.

If you have your own ftplugins, and you want to disable all the default ones, then do not include a check for b:did_ftplugin in your ftplugin files, and add the line

:autocmd BufReadPre,BufNewFile * let b:did_ftplugin = 1

to your vimrc, before the :filetype plugin on line.

Setting a default filetype[]

When you edit a blank buffer (for example, just after starting Vim, or as a result of the :new command), the buffer will have no filetype so there will be no syntax highlighting or other ftplugin assistance.

You can check the filetype of the current buffer with command:

:set ft?

You can set the filetype of the current buffer with a command like this example:

:set ft=python

Another approach is to assign a file name when creating the blank buffer, for example, by entering a command like vim to start Vim, or with commands like these from within Vim:


Alternatively, the following in your vimrc will set a default filetype for all new buffers:

" default filetype
let g:do_filetype = 0
au BufWinEnter,BufAdd * if expand('<afile>') == "" | let g:do_filetype = 1 | endif
au BufEnter * if g:do_filetype | setf python | let g:do_filetype = 0 | endif

BufWinEnter is for the buffer that is opened on startup. BufAdd is for new blank buffers.

Why the need to use a global variable, and not set the filetype immediately, is to my understanding, because the buffer hasn't been fully created when the autocmd is triggered.

See also[]



  • Write an introduction (not much detail).
  • Give any useful brief advice.
  • Link to relevant tips.
  • Make redirects pointing to this tip, perhaps: ftplugin, ftplugins, Filetype, Filetypes, Filetype plugin, Filetype plugins