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created 2001 · complexity basic · author Leif Wickland · version 6.0

To set the initial size of the Vim window[]

Place the following in your vimrc to control the initial size of the Vim or gvim window (change the numbers to what you need):

set lines=50 columns=1000

Here is a more sophisticated version:

if has("gui_running")
  " GUI is running or is about to start.
  " Maximize gvim window (for an alternative on Windows, see simalt below).
  set lines=999 columns=999
  " This is console Vim.
  if exists("+lines")
    set lines=50
  if exists("+columns")
    set columns=100

On Linux/bsd's terminal, this is done automatically. If you want to set the initial size of gvim, you can put set lines=N columns=N in .gvimrc. Some systems support -geometry as shown in the following example. :help -geometry

gvim -geometry 97x46+1913+145

To maximize the initial gvim window using wmctrl (X server)[]

Instead of running gvim directly, you can run the following simple script:

exec=/usr/bin/gvim #here you can modify the location of gvim
$exec -f $* &
while [ -z $winid ]; do
  sleep 0.05
  winid=`wmctrl -pl |grep -P "^0x[0-9a-f]+[ ]+[-0-9]+[ ]+$pid" | cut -f1 -d' '`
# echo "debug: $exec started, PID=$pid, Window ID=$winid"
#this maximizes the gvim window
wmctrl -i -b add,maximized_vert,maximized_horz -r $winid
#this switches the gvim window to fullscreen
wmctrl -i -b add,fullscreen -r $winid

In words, the script starts gvim, saves its process id and using wmctrl finds the window id of gvim. After that, it sends either a command for maximizing and/or for fullscreen.

If you want to have this as the default whenever you call gvim, you can, e.g., save this script as /usr/local/bin/gvim .

To maximize the initial Vim window under Windows[]

On some Windows systems, pressing Win-Up (Windows key and the Up cursor key) maximizes the window, and Win-Down restores it.

Put the following in your vimrc to maximize Vim on startup (from :help win16-maximized):

" Use ~x on an English Windows version or ~n for French.
au GUIEnter * simalt ~x

To run a single session of Vim maximized use:

gvim -c 'simalt ~x'

A Windows alternative would be to change the properties of the shortcut to start Vim, for example:

cmd /c start /max "C:\Program Files\vim\vim71\gvim.exe"

This will not work, however, if you disable the menu with guioptions-=m and this is not usable if you need to specify gvim as configuration option of some third party tools (file managers etc).

Using Maximize.dll plugin[]

There is also a plugin with a DLL to maximize/restore the Vim window: maximize.dll: Maximizing plugin for Win32 gvim.

Using Nircmd[]

Nircmd is a small tool from Nirsoft that can be used to automate various aspects of Windows environment. You can use it to start application maximized or maximize running application window:

nircmd.exe exec max "C:\Program Files (x86)\vim\vim74\gvim.exe"

or as PowerShell function that accepts file argument

function gvim($file) {
  start nircmd.exe "exec max ""C:\Program Files (x86)\vim\vim74\gvim.exe"" $file"

To maximize the initial Vim window under Sawfish[]

You can configure Sawfish to automatically maximize gvim on startup:

  • Run "sawfish-ui".
  • Select "matched windows", "Add...".
  • In "macthers" select "Class".
  • "Grab..." and click the gvim window.
  • Select the "Maximized" checkbox and click "OK".


TODO Following are related tips. Should merge some of these.

Edit June 9, 2014[]

An edit put simalt ~x in the "more sophisticated" script, but that is already in the tip so I removed it. JohnBeckett (talk) 05:57, June 10, 2014 (UTC)