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I am using vim and I need a way to always be able to see the file that I am working on without having to do ^G.
I see the file name when I start vim but when I start to work and use various functions it gets lost.
Also I have seen other people have some kind of "addons" in the lower part of the vim console that seem like they are "button"/"tabs" (I am not sure how to describe them) that show various info constantly including the file name.
Any idea what are these plugins? Or how can I achieve what I want?

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somewhat related: unix.stackexchange.com/questions/104901/… – amphibient Jan 30 '14 at 0:18
Might you be thinking of github.com/Lokaltog/vim-powerline ? – johnny Feb 3 '14 at 1:10
up vote 16 down vote accepted

You can add this to your .vimrcfile, or temporarily while in vim.

  • vimrc - set laststatus=2
  • in vim - :set laststatus=2

To get the full path you can add this command, again to either your .vimrc or while in vim.

  • vimrc - set statusline+=%F
  • in vim - :set statusline+=%F


normal mode

                        ss #1

command line mode

                        ss #2

For more info than you care to read through there's additional info on both of these available in vim.

:help laststatus
:help statusline


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Weird name (no mnemonic I think). This does not seem to show the full path. Would showing the full path be an option? – Jim Jan 29 '14 at 22:54
@Jim - see updates – slm Jan 29 '14 at 23:07
@Jim it's just as ls command set ls=2 – Rahul Patil Jan 30 '14 at 8:09

The tabs you are probably referring to is not a plugin, but a built-in. Try


It should open a new tab and you should see the menu bar, showing the name of the files in the different tabs. To always show this menu-bar, use

:set showtabline=2

Although this makes only sense when you really want to work with tabs (I can recommend it). Otherwise I'd suggest to set the name in the statusbar as outlined by others.

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No.Not tabs for sure.I know about tabs. – Jim Jan 30 '14 at 6:13
Thanks for the downvote. Tabs show the name of the file, that's what you want, no? You called them tabs yourself... – pfnuesel Jan 30 '14 at 11:10
@Jim what's wrong with tabs? – Walf Jul 20 at 3:14

Try this for full path:

:set statusline =%4*\ %<%F%*

More info: http://got-ravings.blogspot.com/2008/08/vim-pr0n-making-statuslines-that-own.html

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Also check out vim-airline. Note that you still have to use "set laststatus=2" show the status line.

enter image description here

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I find that adding the file to the top of the window using,

set title

in the .vimrc, is less obnoxious then always having the status bar taking up a full line at the bottom.

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