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The NERDTree Vint


The NERDTree is a file system explorer for the Vim editor. Using this plugin, users can visually browse complex directory hierarchies, quickly open files for reading or editing, and perform basic file system operations.

This plugin can also be extended with custom mappings using a special API. The details of this API and of other NERDTree features are described in the included documentation.

NERDTree Screenshot


Below are just some of the methods for installing NERDTree. Do not follow all of these instructions; just pick your favorite one. Other plugin managers exist, and NERDTree should install just fine with any of them.

Vim 8+ packages

If you are using VIM version 8 or higher you can use its built-in package management; see :help packages for more information. Just run these commands in your terminal:

git clone https://github.com/preservim/nerdtree.git ~/.vim/pack/vendor/start/nerdtree
vim -u NONE -c "helptags ~/.vim/pack/vendor/start/nerdtree/doc" -c q

Otherwise, these are some of the several 3rd-party plugin managers you can choose from. Be sure you read the instructions for your chosen plugin, as there typically are additional steps you nee d to take.


In the terminal,

git clone https://github.com/preservim/nerdtree.git ~/.vim/bundle/nerdtree

In your vimrc,

call pathogen#infect()
syntax on
filetype plugin indent on

Then reload vim, run :helptags ~/.vim/bundle/nerdtree/doc/ or :Helptags.


call vundle#begin()
Plugin 'preservim/nerdtree'
call vundle#end()


call plug#begin()
Plug 'preservim/nerdtree'
call plug#end()


call dein#begin()
call dein#add('preservim/nerdtree')
call dein#end()


apt-vim install -y https://github.com/preservim/nerdtree.git

F.A.Q. (here, and in the Wiki)

Is there any support for git flags?

Yes, install nerdtree-git-plugin.

Can I have the nerdtree on every tab automatically?

Nope. If this is something you want then chances are you aren't using tabs and buffers as they were intended to be used. Read this http://stackoverflow.com/questions/102384/using-vims-tabs-like-buffers

If you are interested in this behaviour then consider vim-nerdtree-tabs

How can I open a NERDTree automatically when vim starts up?

Stick this in your vimrc: autocmd vimenter * NERDTree

How can I open a NERDTree automatically when vim starts up if no files were specified?

Stick this in your vimrc:

autocmd StdinReadPre * let s:std_in=1
autocmd VimEnter * if argc() == 0 && !exists("s:std_in") | NERDTree | endif

Note: Now start vim with plain vim, not vim .

What if I'm also opening a saved session, for example vim -S session_file.vim? I don't want NERDTree to open in that scenario.

autocmd StdinReadPre * let s:std_in=1
autocmd VimEnter * if argc() == 0 && !exists("s:std_in") && v:this_session == "" | NERDTree | endif

How can I open NERDTree automatically when vim starts up on opening a directory?

autocmd StdinReadPre * let s:std_in=1
autocmd VimEnter * if argc() == 1 && isdirectory(argv()[0]) && !exists("s:std_in") | exe 'NERDTree' argv()[0] | wincmd p | ene | exe 'cd '.argv()[0] | endif

This window is tab-specific, meaning it's used by all windows in the tab. This trick also prevents NERDTree from hiding when first selecting a file.

Note: Executing vim ~/some-directory will open NERDTree and a new edit window. exe 'cd '.argv()[0] sets the pwd of the new edit window to ~/some-directory

How can I map a specific key or shortcut to open NERDTree?

Stick this in your vimrc to open NERDTree with Ctrl+n (you can set whatever key you want):

map <C-n> :NERDTreeToggle<CR>

How can I close vim if the only window left open is a NERDTree?

Stick this in your vimrc:

autocmd bufenter * if (winnr("$") == 1 && exists("b:NERDTree") && b:NERDTree.isTabTree()) | q | endif

Can I have different highlighting for different file extensions?

See here: https://github.com/preservim/nerdtree/issues/433#issuecomment-92590696

How can I change default arrows?

Use these variables in your vimrc. Note that below are default arrow symbols

let g:NERDTreeDirArrowExpandable = '▸'
let g:NERDTreeDirArrowCollapsible = '▾'

You can remove the arrows altogether by setting these variables to empty strings, as shown below. This will remove not only the arrows, but a single space following them, shifting the whole tree two character positions to the left.

let g:NERDTreeDirArrowExpandable = ''
let g:NERDTreeDirArrowCollapsible = ''

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