arnklint Challenges, overcomings, thoughts and inspiration.

Using VIM Buffers

Thinking of buffers in vim as tabs when using Textmate just made so much sense. So much sense that I wanted to write down the basics for me to come back to. Here are some few tips on how to use them to work efficient in VIM.


I think of buffers as references to the files you are working with currently. Try visualizing opening a file in a Textmate project. It becomes a tab and when opening another file, that too becomes another tab. So for me buffers in VIM is like tabs in Textmate, but not as visible or noisy.

List buffers

  • :ls - list all buffers
  • :b [tab] - display all buffers
  • :b my[tab] - display buffers whos filename starts with ´my´
  • :e#5 - go to buffer 5
  • :b5 - go to buffer 5
  • :b# - Switch between two buffers

Delete buffers

If you want to delete a buffer in vim (like closing a tab in TextMate eg):

  • :bdelete [buffernumber or filename]
  • :bd - a shorter version

Next I´ll try to figure out how bookmarks works.