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Restore cursor to file position in previous editing session

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created 2001 · complexity intermediate · author Charles E Campbell · version 6.0

Plugins Edit

  • The vim-lastplace plugin will open your files at the last edit position. It is smart enough to handle commit messages correctly too!

Doing It Manually Edit

Here is something for your vimrc which will allow you to restore your cursor position in a file over several editing sessions. This technique uses the viminfo option, so be sure to have viminfo enabled with reasonable options (it is enabled by default):

" Tell vim to remember certain things when we exit
"  '10  :  marks will be remembered for up to 10 previously edited files
"  "100 :  will save up to 100 lines for each register
"  :20  :  up to 20 lines of command-line history will be remembered
"  %    :  saves and restores the buffer list
"  n... :  where to save the viminfo files
set viminfo='10,\"100,:20,%,n~/.viminfo

If you are on Unix, the viminfo example above is probably fine as is (but check up on Vim's help for viminfo to see if you like the settings above). For Windows you will need to change the "n" suboption to something like:

set viminfo='10,\"100,:20,%,nc:\\some\\place\\under\\Windows\\_viminfo

Afterwards, add the main function that restores the cursor position and its autocmd so that it gets triggered:

function! ResCur()
  if line("'\"") <= line("$")
    normal! g`"
    return 1

augroup resCur
  autocmd BufWinEnter * call ResCur()
augroup END

This tip is an improved version of the example given for :help last-position-jump. It fixes a problem where the cursor position will not be restored if the file only has a single line.

Partial Foldlevel RestoreEdit

The following will unfold like :help zv, except that when the cursor matches the start of a new folding level, it will unfold just so that the cursor line is visible without doing the same for the contained folded section.

The functionality depends on ResCur() to achieve the desired effect when re-reading a file.

if has("folding")
  function! UnfoldCur()
    if !&foldenable
    let cl = line(".")
    if cl <= 1
    let cf  = foldlevel(cl)
    let uf  = foldlevel(cl - 1)
    let min = (cf > uf ? uf : cf)
    if min
      execute "normal!" min . "zo"
      return 1

Finish by modifying the previously added augroup:

augroup resCur
  if has("folding")
    autocmd BufWinEnter * if ResCur() | call UnfoldCur() | endif
    autocmd BufWinEnter * call ResCur()
augroup END

Additional InformationEdit



Sorry if I am mistakenly messing with your formatting.
I currently use this simple alternative:
augroup resCur
  autocmd BufReadPost * call setpos(".", getpos("'\""))
augroup END
--andresp (probably not logged in atm)
  • Check my comment following, and the explanation after that (refactored from Anres.p's comment with dealt-with material omitted).
  • I have not yet looked at the current solution. JohnBot 07:14, January 22, 2011 (UTC)

On my system, I copy the restore-last-position code from vimrc_example.vim (a file distributed with Vim). That code is the basis of the first solution in the tip (now deleted). vimrc_example also makes the help 'last-position-jump' obsolete. That first solution deserves deletion IMHO because it has a totally inexplicable "norm $" that doesn't seem at all useful to me.

My current feeling is that vimrc_example should be explained, and perhaps the second solution (currently deleted) should be shown. I'm not at all sure that the third solution (the one currently in the tip) is worthwhile. JohnBeckett 08:58, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

The solution in vimrc_example.vim is exactly the same as :help line and :help last-position-jump, except that the autocmd is styled across lines instead of concatenated into a single line. Andres.p 18:07, December 1, 2010 (UTC)
The reason why the code in vimrc_example.vim shouldn't be explained I already gave in a previous comment that was deleted by the bot. :) It performs a redundant conditional that keeps from restoring the column position when the file is one line long... Andres.p 21:55, January 22, 2011 (UTC)
This is exactly why we should mention the version in the :help. We need to know why the :help version can't just be used as-is. I personally have not paid much attention to this tip exactly because I have thought the version in the :help to be enough for my needs. --Fritzophrenic 15:53, January 24, 2011 (UTC)


Just a note that this won't work if ~/.viminfo is owned by root (if you're running as a regular user), of course this isn't surprising. I'm just not sure how I ended up with ~/.viminfo owned by root. Bostonvaulter (talk) 20:11, October 5, 2012 (UTC)

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