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Tip 972 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created 2005 · complexity basic · author Tony Mechelynck · version 5.7

To run native-Windows Vim from cygwin, just create one or more of the following aliases (for instance in ~/.bash_profile). You may grab them by copy&paste via the clipboard:

alias vim='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim63/vim.exe'
alias vimd='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim63/vimd.exe'
alias gvim='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim63/gvim.exe'
alias gvimd='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim63/gvimd.exe'

alias v7vim='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim70aa/vim.exe'
alias v7vimd='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim70aa/vimd.exe'
alias v7gvim='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim70aa/gvim.exe'
alias v7gvimd='VIM=`cygpath -d $VIM` HOME=`cygpath -d $HOME` `cygpath -u $VIM`/vim70aa/gvimd.exe'


  • In each alias, the whole string after the first = is surrounded by single quotes
  • This assumes that $VIM and $HOME are correctly defined in the master environment. How to set them is outside the scope of this tip.
  • Today (while I'm writing this) the current Vim versions are 6.3 (stable) and 7.0aa (under development). Sooner or later there will be a newer version. Just change the last directory name in the above aliases to reflect it.
  • See 'man cygpath' for more info.


  • Due to spaces in directory names the aliases should be in the form:
alias gvim='VIM=`cygpath -d "$VIM"` HOME=`cygpath -d "$HOME"` "`cygpath -u "$VIM"`/vim63/gvim.exe"'
  • Make sure .bash_profile is saved with 'fileformat' set to "unix"
  • If the installation path of the VIM is in your $PATH, you don't need to create an alias to run gvim. However, you'll still need a wrapper to correctly translate the filepath you pass in as a argument to gvim.

e.g. gvim ~/.bash_profile won't work without doing something like

    gvim `cygpath -w ~/.bash_profile`

I've created this Bash function that handles

  • Vim command line options e.g. -p
  • Creates files with any name (e.g. .My.DotFile). That's why I don't use the -d option to cygpath
  • Supports file path names with spaces

Suggestion for improvements most welcome

Alecclews 06:33, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Some more work is required to correctly handle vim binary options: e.g. gvim -c /pattern/ myfile should not convert /pattern to c:/cygwin/pattern. Hence the other fully wrapped solution that also handles symbolic links, Windows' UNC pathnames, and environment variables -- cygpath may be better at supporting these particular situations with latest Cygwin versions.
BTW, shouldn't we merge the two tips?
--Luc Hermitte 18:12, 30 January 2009 (UTC)