Custom .vimrc configuration folder

To achieve this we need special attention to the autoload folder and to the various plugins folders.

I wanted to move all vim configurations to the more (now) standard directory .config that is supposed to be used by all applications (even than some of them do not use it) and not pollute the HOME folder.

To be able to move all stuff vim needs to .config/vim, you need to make the following changes:

  • on your shell rc file (~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc), add: export VIMINIT="source ~/.config/vim/vimrc" - This is to instruct vim where to find your new vimrc configuration file.
  • on your ~/.config/vim/vimrc file, before your plugin manager, set the autoload directory adding: set runtimepath+=~/.config/vim,~/.config/vim/after - This will instruct vim to run files and scripts found in those paths.

The current runtimepath can be seen with the command set runtimepath? and it will probably show something like ~/.vim,/var/lib/vim/addons,/usr/share/vim/vimfiles,/usr/share/vim/vim80,/usr/share/vim/vimfiles/after,/var/lib/vim/addons/after,~/.vim/after.

You need to add the new folders in that list, without compromising the old folders, as they may have lots of default scripts.

Also you don't need ~/.vim and ~/.vim/after, as they don't exist, but no harm letting the path as is, and just add what you need.

  • on your vimrc file, add: set viminfo+=n~/.config/vim/viminfo - This will tell vim to write the old ~/.viminfo file in the new location, now without the prefixed dot.


If you don't have one installed, use the following lines in your ~/.config/vim/vimrc file to download and auto-install it:

if empty(glob('~/.config/vim/autoload/plug.vim'))
  silent !curl -fLo ~/.config/vim/autoload/plug.vim --create-dirs
  autocmd VimEnter * PlugInstall --sync | source $MYVIMRC

This will download and install your plugin manager. After that, the following lines will download and install a plugin of your choice (examplified with drbeco/vimtemplates and ajh16/VimCompleteMe plugins. You can add more as you wish.):

call plug#begin('~/.config/vim/plugged')
Plug 'drbeco/vimtemplates'
Plug 'ajh17/VimCompletesMe'
call plug#end()

This call will create folders like ~/.config/vim/plugged/vimtemplates and ~/.config/vim/plugged/VimCompletesMe, and so on, for each plugin.

So now, even the plugins are all organized inside ~/.config/vim, and that really cleans the HOME directory.

And that's it.