25 Apr 2022

How to enable indentation, line numbers and syntax highlighting in Vim

  • vim
  • linux
  • howto

A quick way to enable syntax highlighting in Vim is to add the following line to your .vimrc file in your home directory e.g ~/.vimrc

set paste number
set ts=2 sw=2 expandtab
syntax on

Here is the longer version of the above snippet:

set paste
set number
set tabstop=2
set shiftwidth=2
set expandtab
syntax on
  • set paste will not alter the indentation of the pasted text.
  • number will ensure line numbers are shown in the Vim window.
  • set ts=2 sw=2 expandtab will make the text look nice by setting tabstop to 2, softtabstop to 2 and expandtab to true.
  • Finally syntax on will enable syntax highlighting.

Now, open any file in vim and you will see the syntax highlighting.

vim syntax highlighting comparison