Enabling syntax highlighting in vim

July 8, 2012 — 3 Comments

I don’t use vim very often, but when I do it would be handy to have some syntax highlighting. Over on Google+, Vincent Knight shared a link to a post on Geekology that describes how to turn on syntax highlighting and autoindenting for vim on a Mac. Here is a summary.

Open the Terminal and type the following commands.

cd /usr/share/vim
sudo vim vimrc

Press the i key and then paste the following lines of code just below the set backspace=2 line:

set ai                  " auto indenting
set history=100         " keep 100 lines of history
set ruler               " show the cursor position
syntax on               " syntax highlighting
set hlsearch            " highlight the last searched term
filetype plugin on      " use the file type plugins

" When editing a file, always jump to the last cursor position
autocmd BufReadPost *
\ if ! exists("g:leave_my_cursor_position_alone") |
\ if line("'"") > 0 && line ("'"") <= line("$") |
\ exe "normal g'"" |
\ endif |
\ endif

Lastly, type Esc followed by :x. That’s it!

Dana Ernst

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Father of two boys, husband, mathematician, cyclist, trail runner, rock climber, and coffee drinker. Columnist for MAA blog Math Ed Matters.
  • Glad to see you are coming around to the last editor you will ever need!

  • You should probably put that stuff in a .vimrc file in your home folder. Doesn’t matter when you’ve got the only account on your machine, but it’s a good habit to get into.

  • Good tip Christian. Thanks.