Install Vim On Mac

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Setting up your computer for Vim and Tmux often comes with a few issues. Here's how to manage plugins for Vim and use Tmux to boost your productivity, as well as settle a few common issues.

We'll install:

Install vim on Mac OSX. June 23, 2017 Amber. App name: vim; App description: Vi “workalike”” with many additional features. Brew install vim. To install the latest version, use homebrew: brew install vim The Ultimate vimrc. The Ultimate vimrc it's a collection of vimrc configurations to make easy the usage of vim. To download the The Ultimate vimrc, you need to install the git client. If you need install it, use home brew: brew install git Now, download the vimrc files.

  1. Vundle - Plugin management for Vim
  2. Solarized color scheme
  3. Tmux - Terminal multiplexer

We'll also figure out some issues Mac and Tmux have with showing 256 color themes.

Install Vundle

You can install Vundle by cloning it:

Configure Vundle

Once installed, you can configure it.

And follow the installation directions by editing your ~/.vimrc file:


Once this is setup, you can open a new instance of vim and run :BundleInstall:

You'll get a confirmation 'Done' message on the bottom of your screen if all goes well.

Add Solarized Color Theme

Next, we'll add the Solarized color theme. Vundle makes this really easy. Simply add the Github repository name in ~/.vimrc:

Now that we've added the solarized theme, we need to have Vundle install it.

Now open up your Terminal (iTerm2 or Terminal app). If you're on a Mac, you may see something...ugly. I had a terrible background and the colors were completley off. I didn't have 256 color enabled.

Here's what I saw:

To fix that, I finally came across this StackOverflow question, which had the answer waiting.


Change your ~.vimrc settings from above to the following:

Once you start up a new instance of Vim, you should see your new, colored vim!

Onto Tmux!

Let's up our game and get Tmux into the mix. We can use Tmux to open up multiple 'panes' within our shell.

First, install it. On your Mac, you can use Homebrew:

Ubuntu or Debian users can user apt-get:

Great. Now, colors are also an issue when running Vim within Tmux. Let's fix that. Create or edit the file ~/.tmux.conf:

Now we're ready to use Tmux. Start up a new Tmux session:

Next, split the screen vertically so we have 2 panes with this keyboard shortcut:

You can switch between panes with this shortcut:

You can then open up separate files in each! (Or do ... anything really).

More Tmux

Tmux has Windows, and within the Windows it has Panes. Each Window consists of a set of 1-n Panes.

Tmux also has Sessions. A collection of Windows/Panes live within a Session. You can detach from a Session, leaving it running in the background. You can later re-attach to it, and continue working. This is how people pair program.

Split Screen into 2 Panes:
Split current Pane horizontally into 2 Panes:
Switch between Panes:
Create new Window:
Switch between Windows:
Detach from Session:
Re-attach to a Session:
Create a Session:
Switch between Sessions:
Switch between Sessions within Tmux:
List Sessions:
List all commands:


You can run this bash script on your Debian or Ubuntu server to run the above Vim+Tmux configurations. This might conflict with anything you currently have in your ~/.vimrc or ~/.tmux.conf files (If they already exist). Back them up first.

How To Install Vim On Mac

Further Reading: