A Vim distribution with sane, modern defaults, a custom theme, and a collection of tightly integrated and configured development-oriented plugins
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A theme, config and collection of plugins for Vim


  • Vim: The latest vim should be installed to use this distribution
  • Bash: Required by the update scripts
  • Coreutils: Required by the update script
  • Git: Required by the update script and git-related plugins

Optional Requirements

  • Compilers, Linters and Runtimes: The ale plugin can use compilers, linters and runtimes to provide real-time syntax checking
  • CTags: Required by tagbar, vim-gutentags and deoplete
  • Powerline Fonts: Required to enable the fancier looking status line
  • Python: Required for deoplete autocompletion functionality
  • Neovim Python Module: Required for deoplete autocompletion
  • Python Msgpack: Required for deoplete autocompletion

Distribution Features

  • Default Configuration: A complete set of defaults, focusing on the most modern settings that still provide a compatible experience
  • Custom theme: An original colour scheme with explicit values set to optimize the look of individual filetypes
  • Key Bindings/Aliases: A set of bindings and aliases defined to group similar features and provide numerous (and sometimes more familiar) ways to access options
  • Plugins: A set of plugins have been included and configured to provide support for most normally-unsupported filetypes, and a set of features useful when using Vim as an editor
  • Custom Configuration: A second vimrc and bundle folder are included that aren't maintained as part of the repo, making custom plugins and configuration easy to add


  1. Clone the darkcloud-vimconfig repo and use the update script to install the plugins:
  • git clone https://github.com/prurigro/darkcloud-vimconfig.git
  • ./darkcloud-vimconfig/update (if you don't want colour output, run: ./darkcloud-vimconfig/update --no-colour instead)
  • Note: The update script requires bash, but if it's not available you can enter the darkcloud-vimconfig/ folder and run: git submodule update --init to install the plugins manually, then create vim/vimrc.user and remember to run: :Helptags once everything else is running
  1. If you don't know where vim expects to find your vimrc, start vim and run: :version to find the values "user vimrc file" (for a single-user install) and "system vimrc file" (for a system-wide install). T
  2. Copy or symlink the vimrc file from darkcloud-vimconfig/vimrc to one of the locations vim expects to find it, based on whether you want a local or system-wide install, then choose one of the following:
  • Edit the g:darkcloudpath variable in the vimrc file itself, pointing it to the location you're keeping the darkcloud-vimconfig repo folder
  • Create a file @ ~/.vim/darkcloud-path.vim and in it put the following: let g:darkcloudpath="/etc/darkcloud-vimconfig", but replacing "/etc/darkcloud-vimconfig" with the path to the darkcloud-vimconfig repo folder
  • Place darkcloud-vimconfig in the default location @ /etc/darkcloud-vimconfig
  • Create your own vimrc and have that set the g:darkcloudpath variable before sourcing the included vimrc


You can configure your PAGER to use darkcloud-vimconfig using vimpager by adding the following to your bashrc (assuming the default path @ "/etc/darkcloud-vimconfig"):

export PAGER=/etc/darkcloud-vimconfig/vim/bundle/vimpager/vimpager
alias less="$PAGER"
alias zless="$PAGER"


  • Configure Variables: The following variables can be added to vim/vimrc.user and have their values set to the values you require:
    • g:autostartchecker: 1 = Check syntax once an appropriate file is loaded | 0 = Check syntax only after syntax checking is toggled on (default: 0)
    • g:autostarttagbar: 1 = Have the tagbar load automatically when a compatible format is run | 0 = The tagbar will stay hidden until triggered on demand with its toggle (default: 0)
    • g:disablecompletion: 1 = Disable deoplete autocompletion | 0 = Enable _deoplete autocompletion if the requirements are met (default: 0)
    • g:disableautotags: 1 = Prevent tags from being automatically generated and highlighted | 0 = Automatically generate and highlight tags (default: 0)
    • g:disablelinebreaks: 1 = Override filetype plugins so linebreaks never occur | 0 = Linebreaks are disabled by default, but filetype plugins can override this setting (default: 0)
    • g:powerlinefonts: 1 = Render the statusline using characters available with powerline-patched fonts | 0 = Render the statusbar with less attractive but more compatible characters available in all fonts (default: 0)
  • Custom Settings: Settings with priority over those set by darkcloud-vimconfig can be added to a file named vimrc.user, located in darkcloud-vimconfig/vim/ or any of the folders in the runtimepath
  • Custom Plugins: Pathogen compatible plugins can be cloned or extracted to "darkcloud-vimconfig/vim/bundle.user/", or a folder named "bundle" or "bundle.user" in any of the folders in the runtimepath
  • File Associations: To use the file manager in vim to run files with external programs, create "~/.vim/filetypes.vim" and on each line, write an association between a file extension and the program to launch files of that type that looks like: call vimfiler#set_execute_file('mp4','xdg-open')
  • Update Script: (requires: bash+git) Use this to update the project and submodules, as well as handle any required maintenance, generate docs from the pathogen plugins and create missing config scripts with preset values



Binding Mode Action
(Ctrl|Alt|Shift)+ScrollUp ALL Scroll left a few characters at a time
(Ctrl|Alt|Shift)+ScrollDown ALL Scroll right a few characters at a time
MiddleClick ALL Select between the cursor and the mouse
Ctrl+LeftClick ALL Select between the cursor and the mouse
Alt+LeftClick ALL Select the line at the mouse
Ctrl+Alt+LeftClick ALL Select the paragraph at the mouse
Ctrl+RightClick ALL Copy selection or character under the cursor
Ctrl+MiddleClick ALL Copy selection or character under the cursor
Alt+RightClick ALL Cut selection or character under the cursor
Alt+MiddleClick ALL Cut selection or character under the cursor
Ctrl+Alt+RightClick ALL Paste at the cursor
Ctrl+Alt+MiddleClick ALL Paste at the cursor
Shift+MiddleClick ALL Paste the contents of the xorg buffer



Binding Mode Action
F9 or +} ALL or N Toggle git history for the current file
F10 or +{ ALL or N Toggle the tagbar source code tag sidebar
F11 or +\ ALL or N Toggle the location list for ale issues
F12 or +[ ALL or N Toggle vimfiler file manager sidebar


Binding Mode Action
~ N Popup a command list dialog
F1 ALL Toggle line wrapping
F2 ALL Toggle highlighting of spelling mistakes
F3 ALL Toggle external-paste mode
F4 ALL Toggle source code syntax checking
` N Toggle gutter (left bar with line numbers etc.)
Backslash+? N Toggle the vim reference manual

Spell Check

Binding Mode Action
?+ N Add the selected word to the local dictionary
?? N Show spelling suggestions for selected word
?N N Go to the next spelling mistake
?P N Go to the previous spelling mistake

Fixing and Formatting

Binding Mode Action
Leader+J N+V Format line/selected lines to a max width of the textwidth
Leader+f N+V Format document/selection alignment using Vim syntax
Leader+f N+V (Markdown) Format table cursor is currently on
Leader+F N Fix document with available ale fixers
Leader+t N Convert all tabs into spaces and continue session with spaces
Leader+T N Convert all spaces into tabs and continue session with tabs
Leader+w N Remove all trailing whitespace


Binding Mode Action
Backslash+F1 ALL Toggle the menubar
Backslash+F2 ALL Toggle the toolbar
Backslash+F3 ALL Toggle the scrollbars

Complete Reference

For a complete list of mappings specific to darkcloud-vimconfig, check the list in the comments at the top of vim/config/keyboard.vim


  • ale: Asynchronous Lint Engine
  • deoplete.nvim: Dark powered asynchronous completion framework for neovim/Vim8
    • neco-syntax: Syntax source for neocomplete/deoplete/ncm
    • nvim-yarp: Yet Another Remote Plugin Framework for Neovim
    • vim-hug-neovim-rpc: A compatibility layer for neovim rpc client working on vim8
  • editorconfig-vim: EditorConfig plugin for Vim that auto-configures certain settings when a .editorconfig file is present
  • lightline.vim: A light and configurable statusline/tabline for Vim
    • lightline-ale: Provides ALE indicator for the lightline vim plugin
  • ReplaceWithRegister: Replace text with the contents of a register (for paste+replace without writing over the buffer)
  • splitjoin.vim: Simplifies the transition between multiline and single-line code
  • tabular: Vim script for text filtering and alignment
  • tagbar: Uses ctags to generate a sidebar of the tags for the current file
  • tcomment_vim: File-type sensible comments that can be easily toggled on and off for blocks of text
    • unite.vim: A library used by Vim Filer to help build its user interface
  • vim-fugitive: A wrapper integrating git into vim in such a way as to provide features neither of them could offer on their own
  • vim-gutentags: A plugin that takes care of the much needed management of tags files in Vim
  • vim-move: Provides a few convenient ways to move selected text
  • vim-pathogen: A plugin to load other plugins while keeping them isolated in their own directory structure rather than all dumped together
  • vim-polyglot-darkcloud: The darkcloud-vimconfig fork of a meta-package that attempts to provide the best syntax plugins for each file type
  • vim-signify: When a version controlled file is changed, this displays a column showing where and how, and allows for navigation to and between differences
  • vim-surround: Provides functionality to exchange surrounding delimiters and xml-style tags with another, or simply remove them
    • vim-repeat: A library used by vim-surround to allow its delimiter-switching functions to be repeated with the . command
  • vim-togglelist: A simple plugin for vim that allows you to bind a key to toggle the Location List and the Quickfix List
  • vim-trailing-whitespace: Highlights and allows for the easy removal of trailing whitespace in documents
  • vim-unimpaired: Pairs of handy bracket mappings
  • vimfiler.vim: A curses-style file manager for vim that runs on it's own or in a sidebar and can associate handlers for file types
  • vimpager: Pager using vim and less.vim