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In my .zshrc, I declare some aliases. Eg, which dbstart shows the contents of that alias.

If I open vim from that shell, it is a child process. In Vim, I can run shell commands with :! some_command. If I do :! echo $0 to see what shell Vim is using, it outputs '/bin/zsh'. However, my aliases are unavailable there.

How can I make my normal shell alises available when I shell out from Vim?

Two ideas:

  • Somehow EXPORT the aliases from the original shell, to its child process vim, and again to its shell child process
  • Configure Vim to read my .zshrc when creating its subshells
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include your .zshrc into .profile (which seems to be use by vim –  Kiwy Feb 4 '14 at 13:31

2 Answers 2

Looks like this works for zsh:

  • Ensure that $ZDOTDIR= the directory where .zshrc is located. Eg, export ZDOTDIR=$HOME
  • In .vimrc, set shell=zsh\ -i or set shellcmdflag+=i for the same effect.

The -i is because, when started in interactive mode, zshell loads $ZDOTDIR/.zshrc. See man zsh and search for $ZDOTDIR for details.

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Hmmm, this creates a weird issue for me: copying to the system clipboard like "+y now suspends Vim! superuser.com/questions/712245/… –  Nathan Long Feb 4 '14 at 16:37

I believe when you're in vim and you use the :!some_command it's using whatever shell is defined by the environment variable $SHELL.

This is configurable, so you could change by overriding the $SHELL behavior in your $HOME/.vimrc file to use zsh instead.

:set shell
:set shell=zsh\ -i

Or in your .vimrc using 1 of these 2 lines

 set shell=/bin/bash\ -i
 set shell=/bin/zsh\ -i

Vim help

See :help shell from within vim for more info.

:!{cmd}                 Execute {cmd} with the shell.  See also the 'shell'
                        and 'shelltype' option.
                        Any '!' in {cmd} is replaced with the previous
                        external command (see also 'cpoptions').  But not when
                        there is a backslash before the '!', then that
                        backslash is removed.  Example: ":!ls" followed by
                        ":!echo ! \! \\!" executes "echo ls ! \!".
                        After the command has been executed, the timestamp of
                        the current file is checked timestamp.
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No, as I said: "If I do :! echo $0 to see what shell Vim is using, it outputs '/bin/zsh'" –  Nathan Long Feb 4 '14 at 13:34
@NathanLong - no I think that's misleading you, see my updates. –  slm Feb 4 '14 at 13:36
@slm vim pulls the value from $SHELL. So your shell is /bin/bash. If my shell is /bin/zsh, thats what it'll use. –  Patrick Feb 4 '14 at 13:40
@Patrick - thanks, fixed. –  slm Feb 4 '14 at 13:58

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