I am working on RHEL 6.6. When i open vim editor and set numbers, the line numbers appear but there is a very big indentation from the left side of the screen. is there a way to reduce that gap: Here is a sample:

  1 #!/bin/sh
  3 echo "Hello World"
  5 echo "bye"

Its almost 6 spaces empty to the left of numbers 1, 2, 3 ...

I tried googling but could not find an answer to this problem (though found some other useful commands around vim)

enter image description here

Here is the image for set numberwidth: enter image description here

Here is the image for vim version: enter image description here

  • 1
    I really don't think you tried googling hard enough. :h 'numberwidth'
    – nanny
    Dec 29, 2015 at 18:09
  • nanny - ":h numberwith" did not work, i get the following error: E435: Couldn't find tag, just guessing!
    – JavaTec
    Dec 29, 2015 at 18:25
  • You must have typed it in wrong. You need to set numberwidth in the same way that you turned on numbers in the first place.
    – nanny
    Dec 29, 2015 at 19:25
  • I think you're not using full Vim, but vim-tiny, or vi. edit your question to incllude the output of vim --version.
    – muru
    Dec 29, 2015 at 19:35
  • Hello muru - here is my vim version: VIM - Vi IMproved 7.2 (2008 Aug 9, compiled Feb 17 2012 10:23:31) Included patches: 1-411. Please let me know if this suffices or i should get the entire output uploaded (and sorry for the late reply guys, i had to run multiple offices to get my DL re-instated)
    – JavaTec
    Dec 30, 2015 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


Just adapt it with the width you want (the 4 there is the number of characters you want the number to have).

echo "set numberwidth=4" >> ~/.vimrc

Note that you must have the +linebreak compile option on in order for this to work. To check if you have this flag type :echo has('linebreak') in your vim (0 means you don't have it).

  • hi Kira - this did not change the width/margin either. i did not get any error but no change in the margin either
    – JavaTec
    Dec 29, 2015 at 18:27
  • Check the updated answer.
    – Kira
    Dec 29, 2015 at 18:33
  • Hi Kira unfortunately, this one also not working. Here's what i did: opened vim typed:echo has('linebreak'), no error but no change/response either.
    – JavaTec
    Dec 29, 2015 at 18:45
  • Man... you've typed enter after that... Right? Also, note that the output of that command will show up right in the botton of the screen, where you have just typed.
    – Kira
    Dec 29, 2015 at 19:16
  • yes Kira, i did hit enter after that command (and sorry for the late reply, i had to run multiple offices to get my DL re-instated)
    – JavaTec
    Dec 30, 2015 at 15:41

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