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Embedding vim in Visual Studio

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created 2004 · complexity basic · author mosh · version 6.0

See Integrate gvim with Visual Studio to use vim with Visual Studio without embedding.

Using Vim as an Internal (MDI) WindowEdit

The -P option allows you to launch gVim inside an application supporting MDI windows (such as Microsoft Visual C++). This option is somewhat buggy still, and can crash Visual Studio 6.0 if you try loading Vim with documents open in the default editor. To use it, add the following to the tools menu in Visual Studio:

Command: C:\Program Files\Vim\vim71\gvim.exe
Arguments: -P "Microsoft Visual C++" --servername MDI_VIM

Name it something like "&Internal Vim" - you can now access it through the tools menu.


  • If you are using Visual Studio 6.0, launch the Internal Vim tool with no documents open in the default editor, and be sure to close Vim before opening any documents in the default editor, or Visual Studio will crash. Visual Studio .NET does not have this problem.
  • The server name is unnecessary but prevents you from accidentally sending documents to it from external sources if you use the --remote series of commands (or allows you to specify your MDI Vim instance if that's what you want to do).
  • The "Microsoft Visual C++" corresponds to the window title, so yours may vary. There may be an automatic way to get the window title similar to $(FilePath) above, but I don't know it.
  • Visual Studio.NET handles an MDI Vim window much better, especially if you set the "MDI Environment" setting in Tools->Options->Environment->General. With .NET, you can actually launch the selected file in an internal Vim window automatically by adding +$(CurLine) "$(ItemPath)" to the end of the "arguments" field above. --remote-tab-silent can also be used if desired.
  • The MDI window created by this call will not automatically gain input focus. Make sure Vim has focus before entering any commands!
  • Since MDI was removed from Visual Studio 2010 (including Express editions), the -P option will not work for that version. You will always receive the Vim error E671: Cannot find window title "whatever" no matter what window title you choose. Oddly enough, I did get Vim to dock with another Vim window that was open when I chose "Visual C#" as the window title (I was trying to set this up for Visual C# 2010 Express).



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