How do you reload your .vimrc file without restarting vim?



Can you edit your .vimrc file and reload it without having to restart Vim?


Posted 2010-04-17T14:18:40.903

Reputation: 5 561



If you're editing it, you can reload it with:

:so %

% stands for current file name (see :h current-file) and :so is short for :source, which reads the content of the specified file and treats it as Vim code.

In general, to re-load the currently active .vimrc, use the following (see Daily Vim):


Matteo Riva

Posted 2010-04-17T14:18:40.903

Reputation: 8 341

4Note that if keyboard mappings were already in place, then they will not erased even if they are deleted from the new vimrc – Phani – 2014-10-02T06:58:46.257

Or :so ~/.vim/gvimrc or wherever you put it of course – NeilG – 2019-08-20T01:47:10.787

Can we somehow fully flush the user config while running vim, THEN load the user config again? – jchook – 2020-02-06T02:21:06.400

38and :so ~/.vimrc should work too on unix – Yab – 2011-05-08T18:18:55.080

3:so ~/_vimrc works on windows. Of course, I keep my _vimrc in my windows home directory, or else this won't work. To see what Vim considers your home directory, use :echo expand("~"). – Daniel Miladinov – 2012-11-30T14:10:07.907


Even better, you configure Vim to watch for changes in your .vimrc and automatically reload the config.

augroup myvimrc
    au BufWritePost .vimrc,_vimrc,vimrc,.gvimrc,_gvimrc,gvimrc so $MYVIMRC | if has('gui_running') | so $MYGVIMRC | endif
augroup END

Source: this answer on SO

Note: this particular method watches for the many variations of Vim config filenames so that it's compatible with GUI Vim, Windows Vim, etc.


Posted 2010-04-17T14:18:40.903

Reputation: 996

2How performant is this method? – Alexej Magura – 2017-09-19T18:37:07.043

I find that use this kind of command sometimes hangs my nvim for a few seconds or longer. – jdhao – 2018-09-29T08:29:45.470


Key mappings

" Quickly edit/reload this configuration file
nnoremap gev :e $MYVIMRC<CR>
nnoremap gsv :so $MYVIMRC<CR>

Completely automated solution

To automatically reload upon save, add the following to your $MYVIMRC:

if has ('autocmd') " Remain compatible with earlier versions
 augroup vimrc     " Source vim configuration upon save
    autocmd! BufWritePost $MYVIMRC source % | echom "Reloaded " . $MYVIMRC | redraw
    autocmd! BufWritePost $MYGVIMRC if has('gui_running') | so % | echom "Reloaded " . $MYGVIMRC | endif | redraw
  augroup END
endif " has autocmd

and then for the last time, type:

:so %

The next time you save your vimrc, it will be automatically reloaded.


  • Tells the user what has happened (also logging to :messages)
  • Handles various names for the configuration files
  • Ensures that it wil only match the actual configuration file (ignores copies in other directories, or a fugitive:// diff)
  • Won't generate an error if using vim-tiny

Of course, the automatic reload will only happen if you edit your vimrc in vim.

Tom Hale

Posted 2010-04-17T14:18:40.903

Reputation: 1 348


An alternative to remembering/typing :so $MYVIMRC is these mappings. It lets you quickly edit vimrc (ev) or source vimrc (sv).

" Quickly open/reload vim
nnoremap <leader>ev :split $MYVIMRC<CR>  
nnoremap <leader>sv :source $MYVIMRC<CR>     


Posted 2010-04-17T14:18:40.903

Reputation: 163