I have spent the last few years tweaking and refining my VIM configuration. This is the ultimate VIM configuration .vimrc file. It is well organized and documented. It is on GitHub so you can always grab the latest. It works well alone, but is intended to be paired with the plugins and configuration found in my complete .vim configuration also hosted on GitHub.

The Perfect .vimrc file

Last updated May 26th 2011

" Modeline and Notes {
 " vim: set foldmarker={,} foldlevel=0 foldmethod=marker spell:
 "   This is the personal .vimrc file of Steve Francia.
 "   While much of it is beneficial for general use, I would
 "   recommend picking out the parts you want and understand.
 "   You can find me at http://spf13.com
 " }
 " Environment {
     " Basics {
         set nocompatible        " must be first line
         set background=dark     " Assume a dark background
     " }
     " Windows Compatible {
         " On Windows, also use '.vim' instead of 'vimfiles'; this makes
         " across (heterogeneous) systems easier. 
         if has('win32') || has('win64')
     " }
     " Setup Bundle Support {
     " The next two lines ensure that the \~/.vim/bundle/ system works
         runtime! autoload/pathogen.vim
         silent! call pathogen\#helptags()
         silent! call pathogen\#runtime_append_all_bundles()
     " }
 " }
 " General {
     set background=dark         " Assume a dark background
     if !has('win32') && !has('win64')
         set term=$TERM       " Make arrow and other keys work
     filetype plugin indent on   " Automatically detect file types.
     syntax on                   " syntax highlighting
     set mouse=a                 " automatically enable mouse usage
     "set autochdir              " always switch to the current file
directory.. Messes with some plugins, best left commented out
     " not every vim is compiled with this, use the following line
     " If you use command-t plugin, it conflicts with this, comment it
      "autocmd BufEnter \* if bufname("") !\~ "\^\\[A-Za-z0-9\\]\*://" |
lcd %:p:h | endif
     scriptencoding utf-8
     " set autowrite                  " automatically write a file when
leaving a modified buffer
     set shortmess+=filmnrxoOtT      " abbrev. of messages (avoids 'hit
     set viewoptions=folds,options,cursor,unix,slash " better unix /
windows compatibility
     set virtualedit=onemore         " allow for cursor beyond last
     set history=1000                " Store a ton of history (default
is 20)
     set spell                       " spell checking on
     " Setting up the directories {
         set backup                      " backups are nice ...
         " Moved to function at bottom of the file
         "set backupdir=$HOME/.vimbackup//  " but not when they clog .
         "set directory=$HOME/.vimswap//     " Same for swap files
         "set viewdir=$HOME/.vimviews//  " same for view files
         "" Creating directories if they don't exist
         "silent execute '!mkdir -p $HVOME/.vimbackup'
         "silent execute '!mkdir -p $HOME/.vimswap'
         "silent execute '!mkdir -p $HOME/.vimviews'
         au BufWinLeave \* silent! mkview  "make vim save view (state)
(folds, cursor, etc)
         au BufWinEnter \* silent! loadview "make vim load view (state)
(folds, cursor, etc)
     " }
 " }
 " Vim UI {
     color solarized                 " load a colorscheme
     set tabpagemax=15               " only show 15 tabs
     set showmode                    " display the current mode
     set cursorline                  " highlight current line
     hi cursorline guibg=\#333333     " highlight bg color of current
     hi CursorColumn guibg=\#333333   " highlight cursor
     if has('cmdline_info')
         set ruler                   " show the ruler
         set rulerformat=%30(%=\\:b%n%y%m%r%w\\ %l,%c%V\\ %P%) " a ruler
on steroids
         set showcmd                 " show partial commands in status
line and
                                     " selected characters/lines in
visual mode
     if has('statusline')
         set laststatus=2
         " Broken down into easily includeable segments
         set statusline=%<%f\\   " Filename
         set statusline+=%w%h%m%r " Options
         set statusline+=%{fugitive\#statusline()} "  Git Hotness
         set statusline+=\\ [%{&ff}/%Y]            " filetype
         set statusline+=\\ [%{getcwd()}]          " current dir
         "set statusline+=\\ [A=\\%03.3b/H=\\%02.2B] " ASCII /
Hexadecimal value of char
         set statusline+=%=%-14.(%l,%c%V%)\\ %p%%  " Right aligned file
nav info
     set backspace=indent,eol,start  " backspace for dummys
     set linespace=0                 " No extra spaces between rows
     set nu                          " Line numbers on
     set showmatch                   " show matching
     set incsearch                   " find as you type search
     set hlsearch                    " highlight search terms
     set winminheight=0              " windows can be 0 line high 
     set ignorecase                  " case insensitive search
     set smartcase                   " case sensitive when uc present
     set wildmenu                    " show list instead of just
     set wildmode=list:longest,full  " command <Tab> completion, list
matches, then longest common part, then all.
     set whichwrap=b,s,h,l,<,>,[,]   " backspace and cursor keys wrap
     set scrolljump=5                " lines to scroll when cursor
leaves screen
     set scrolloff=3                 " minimum lines to keep above and
below cursor
     set foldenable                  " auto fold code
     set gdefault                    " the /g flag on :s substitutions
by default
     set list
     set listchars=tab:>.,trail:.,extends:\#,nbsp:. " Highlight
problematic whitespace
 " }
 " Formatting {
     set nowrap                      " wrap long lines
     set autoindent                  " indent at the same level of the
previous line
     set shiftwidth=4                " use indents of 4 spaces
     set expandtab                   " tabs are spaces, not tabs
     set tabstop=4                   " an indentation every four
     set softtabstop=4               " let backspace delete indent
     "set matchpairs+=<:>                " match, to be used with % 
     set pastetoggle=<F12>           " pastetoggle (sane indentation
on pastes)
     "set comments=sl:/\*,mb:\*,elx:\*/  " auto format comment blocks
     " Remove trailing whitespaces and \^M chars
     autocmd FileType c,cpp,java,php,js,python,twig,xml,yml autocmd
BufWritePre <buffer> :call
 " }
 " Key (re)Mappings {
     "The default leader is '\\', but many people prefer ',' as it's in
a standard
     let mapleader = ','
     " Making it so ; works like : for commands. Saves typing and
eliminates :W style typos due to lazy holding shift.
     nnoremap ; :
     " Easier moving in tabs and windows
     map <C-J> <C-W>j<C-W>_
     map <C-K> <C-W>k<C-W>_
     map <C-L> <C-W>l<C-W>_
     map <C-H> <C-W>h<C-W>_
     map <C-K> <C-W>k<C-W>_
     " Wrapped lines goes down/up to next row, rather than next line in
     nnoremap j gj
     nnoremap k gk
     " The following two lines conflict with moving to top and bottom of
     " screen
     " If you prefer that functionality, comment them out.
     map <S-H> gT          
     map <S-L> gt
     " Stupid shift key fixes
     cmap W w                        
     cmap WQ wq
     cmap wQ wq
     cmap Q q
     cmap Tabe tabe
     " Yank from the cursor to the end of the line, to be consistent
with C and D.
     nnoremap Y y$
     """ Code folding options
     nmap <leader>f0 :set foldlevel=0<CR>
     nmap <leader>f1 :set foldlevel=1<CR>
     nmap <leader>f2 :set foldlevel=2<CR>
     nmap <leader>f3 :set foldlevel=3<CR>
     nmap <leader>f4 :set foldlevel=4<CR>
     nmap <leader>f5 :set foldlevel=5<CR>
     nmap <leader>f6 :set foldlevel=6<CR>
     nmap <leader>f7 :set foldlevel=7<CR>
     nmap <leader>f8 :set foldlevel=8<CR>
     nmap <leader>f9 :set foldlevel=9<CR>
     "clearing highlighted search
     nmap <silent> <leader>/ :nohlsearch<CR>
     " Shortcuts
     " Change Working Directory to that of the current file
     cmap cwd lcd %:p:h
     cmap cd. lcd %:p:h
     " visual shifting (does not exit Visual mode)
     vnoremap < <gv
     vnoremap > >gv 
     " Fix home and end keybindings for screen, particularly on mac
     " - for some reason this fixes the arrow keys too. huh.
         " This section has hidden characters, please checkout from
     " For when you forget to sudo.. Really Write the file.
     cmap w!! w !sudo tee % >/dev/null
 " }
 " Plugins {
     " VCSCommand {
 "       let b:VCSCommandMapPrefix=',v'
 "       let b:VCSCommandVCSType='git'
     " } 
     " PIV {
         let g:DisableAutoPHPFolding = 0
         "let cfu=phpcomplete\#CompletePHP
     " }
     " Supertab {
         let g:SuperTabDefaultCompletionType = "context"
         let g:SuperTabContextDefaultCompletionType = "<c-x><c-o>"
     " }
     " Misc { 
         :map <C-F10> <Esc>:vsp<CR>:VTree<CR>
         " map Control + F10 to Vtree
         noremap <leader><F5> :CheckSyntax<cr>
         let g:checksyntax_auto = 1
         "comment out line(s) in visual mode -RB: If you do this, you
         "switch sides of the comment block in visual mode.
         "vmap  o  :call NERDComment(1, 'toggle')<CR>
         let g:NERDShutUp=1
         let b:match_ignorecase = 1
     " }
     " ShowMarks {
         let showmarks_include =
         " Don't leave on by default, use :ShowMarksOn to enable
         let g:showmarks_enable = 0
         " For marks a-z
         highlight ShowMarksHLl gui=bold guibg=LightBlue guifg=Blue
         " For marks A-Z
         highlight ShowMarksHLu gui=bold guibg=LightRed guifg=DarkRed
         " For all other marks
         highlight ShowMarksHLo gui=bold guibg=LightYellow
         " For multiple marks on the same line.
         highlight ShowMarksHLm gui=bold guibg=LightGreen
     " }
     " Command-t {
         let g:CommandTSearchPath = $HOME . '/Code'
     " }
     " OmniComplete {
         "if has("autocmd") && exists("+omnifunc")
             "autocmd Filetype \*
                 "\\if &omnifunc == "" |
                 "\\setlocal omnifunc=syntaxcomplete\#Complete |
         " Popup menu hightLight Group
         "highlight Pmenu    ctermbg=13  guibg=DarkBlue
         "highlight PmenuSel ctermbg=7   guibg=DarkBlue     
         "highlight PmenuSbar ctermbg=7  guibg=DarkGray
         "highlight PmenuThumb           guibg=Black
         hi Pmenu  guifg=\#000000 guibg=\#F8F8F8 ctermfg=black
         hi PmenuSbar  guifg=\#8A95A7 guibg=\#F8F8F8 gui=NONE
ctermfg=darkcyan ctermbg=lightgray cterm=NONE
         hi PmenuThumb  guifg=\#F8F8F8 guibg=\#8A95A7 gui=NONE
ctermfg=lightgray ctermbg=darkcyan cterm=NONE
         " some convenient mappings 
         inoremap <expr> <Esc>      pumvisible() ? "\\<C-e>" :
         inoremap <expr> <CR>       pumvisible() ? "\\<C-y>" :
         inoremap <expr> <Down>     pumvisible() ? "\\<C-n>" :
         inoremap <expr> <Up>       pumvisible() ? "\\<C-p>" :
         inoremap <expr> <C-d>      pumvisible() ?
"\\<PageDown>\\<C-p>\\<C-n>" : "\\<C-d>"
         inoremap <expr> <C-u>      pumvisible() ?
"\\<PageUp>\\<C-p>\\<C-n>" : "\\<C-u>"
         " and make sure that it doesn't break supertab
         let g:SuperTabCrMapping = 0
         " automatically open and close the popup menu / preview window
         au CursorMovedI,InsertLeave \* if pumvisible() == 0|silent!
         set completeopt=menu,preview,longest
     " }
     " Ctags {
     " This will look in the current directory for 'tags', and work up
the tree towards root until one is found. 
         set tags=./tags;/,$HOME/vimtags
         map <C-\\> :tab split<CR>:exec("tag
".expand("<cword>"))<CR> " C-\\ - Open the definition in a new tab
         map <A-]> :vsp <CR>:exec("tag ".expand("<cword>"))<CR>
     " A-] - Open the definition in a vertical split
     " }
     " EasyTags {
        " Disabling for now. It doesn't work well on large tag files 
         let g:loaded_easytags = 1  " Disable until it's working
         let g:easytags_cmd = 'ctags'
         let g:easytags_dynamic_files = 1
         if !has('win32') && !has('win64')
             let g:easytags_resolve_links = 1
     " }
     " Delimitmate {
         au FileType \* let b:delimitMate_autoclose = 1
         " If using html auto complete (complete closing tag)
         au FileType xml,html,xhtml let b:delimitMate_matchpairs =
     " }
     " AutoCloseTag {
         " Make it so AutoCloseTag works for xml and xhtml files as
         au FileType xhtml,xml ru ftplugin/html/autoclosetag.vim
     " }
     " SnipMate {
         " Setting the author var
         " If forking, please overwrite in your .vimrc.local file
         let g:snips_author = 'Steve Francia
<[[email protected]](http://www.cloudflare.com/email-protection)

         " Shortcut for reloading snippets, useful when developing
         nnoremap ,smr <esc>:exec ReloadAllSnippets()<cr>
     " }
     " NerdTree {
         map <C-e> :NERDTreeToggle<CR>:NERDTreeMirror<CR>
         map <leader>e :NERDTreeFind<CR>
         nmap <leader>nt :NERDTreeFind<CR>
         let NERDTreeShowBookmarks=1
         let NERDTreeIgnore=['\\.pyc', '\\\~$', '\\.swo$', '\\.swp$',
'\\.git', '\\.hg', '\\.svn', '\\.bzr']
         let NERDTreeChDirMode=0
         let NERDTreeQuitOnOpen=1
         let NERDTreeShowHidden=1
         let NERDTreeKeepTreeInNewTab=1
     " }
     " Tabularize {
         if exists(":Tabularize")
           nmap <Leader>a= :Tabularize /=<CR>
           vmap <Leader>a= :Tabularize /=<CR>
           nmap <Leader>a: :Tabularize /:<CR>
           vmap <Leader>a: :Tabularize /:<CR>
           nmap <Leader>a:: :Tabularize /:\\zs<CR>
           vmap <Leader>a:: :Tabularize /:\\zs<CR>
           nmap <Leader>a, :Tabularize /,<CR>
           vmap <Leader>a, :Tabularize /,<CR>
           nmap <Leader>a| :Tabularize /|<CR>
           vmap <Leader>a| :Tabularize /|<CR>
      " }
     " Richard's plugins {
         " Fuzzy Finder {
             """ Fuzzy Find file, tree, buffer, line
             nmap <leader>ff :FufFile \*\*/<CR>
             nmap <leader>ft :FufFile<CR>
             nmap <leader>fb :FufBuffer<CR>
             nmap <leader>fl :FufLine<CR>
             nmap <leader>fr :FufRenewCache<CR>
         " }
         " Session List {
             nmap <leader>sl :SessionList<CR>
             nmap <leader>ss :SessionSave<CR>
         " }
         " Buffer explorer {
             nmap <leader>b :BufExplorer<CR>
         " }
         " VCS commands {
             nmap <leader>vs :VCSStatus<CR>
             nmap <leader>vc :VCSCommit<CR>
             nmap <leader>vb :VCSBlame<CR>
             nmap <leader>va :VCSAdd<CR>
             nmap <leader>vd :VCSVimDiff<CR>
             nmap <leader>vl :VCSLog<CR>
             nmap <leader>vu :VCSUpdate<CR>
         " }
         " php-doc commands {
             nmap <leader>pd :call PhpDocSingle()<CR>
             vmap <leader>pd :call PhpDocRange()<CR>
         " }
         " Debugging with VimDebugger {
             map <F11> :DbgStepInto<CR>
             map <F10> :DbgStepOver<CR>
             map <S-F11> :DbgStepOut<CR>
             map <F5> :DbgRun<CR>
             map <F6> :DbgDetach<CR>
             map <F8> :DbgToggleBreakpoint<CR>
             map <S-F8> :DbgFlushBreakpoints<CR>
             map <F9> :DbgRefreshWatch<CR>
             map <S-F9> :DbgAddWatch<CR>
         " }
         " Taglist Variables {
             let Tlist_Auto_Highlight_Tag = 1
             let Tlist_Auto_Update = 1
             let Tlist_Exit_OnlyWindow = 1
             let Tlist_File_Fold_Auto_Close = 1
             let Tlist_Highlight_Tag_On_BufEnter = 1
             let Tlist_Use_Right_Window = 1
             let Tlist_Use_SingleClick = 1
             let g:ctags_statusline=1
             " Override how taglist does javascript
             let g:tlist_javascript_settings =
          " }
         " JSON {
             nmap <leader>jt <Esc>:%!python -m
json.tool<CR><Esc>:set filetype=json<CR>
          " }
     " }
 " }
 " GUI Settings {
     " GVIM- (here instead of .gvimrc)
     if has('gui_running')
         set guioptions-=T           " remove the toolbar
         set lines=40                " 40 lines of text instead of 24,
         set transparency=5          " Make the window slightly
         set term=builtin_ansi       " Make arrow and other keys work
 " }
 function! InitializeDirectories()
   let separator = "."
   let parent = $HOME 
   let prefix = '.vim'
   let dir_list = { 
               \\ 'backup': 'backupdir', 
               \\ 'views': 'viewdir', 
               \\ 'swap': 'directory' }
   for [dirname, settingname] in items(dir_list)
       let directory = parent . '/' . prefix . dirname . "/"
       if exists("\*mkdir")
           if !isdirectory(directory)
               call mkdir(directory)
       if !isdirectory(directory)
           echo "Warning: Unable to create backup directory: " .
           echo "Try: mkdir -p " . directory
           let directory = substitute(directory, " ", "\\\\\\\\ ", "")
           exec "set " . settingname . "=" . directory
 call InitializeDirectories() 
 function! NERDTreeInitAsNeeded()
     redir => bufoutput
     redir END
     let idx = stridx(bufoutput, "NERD_tree")
     if idx > -1
         wincmd l
 " Use local vimrc if available {
     if filereadable(expand("\~/.vimrc.local"))
         source \~/.vimrc.local
 " }

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