How to use a Vimball

I noticed that plugins of ViM have now started to ship as vimballs. A vimball is a ViM-readable archive format that holds the plugin files and commands to install them. A plugin downloaded as a Vimball typically has a file extension of .vba or .vimball, say Foobar.vba.

To view the plugin files installed by a vimball and their destination directories, open Foobar.vba in ViM and use:


A Vimball can be installed with a single command. Open Foobar.vba in ViM and invoke:

:source %

% is a ViM read-only register that holds the name of the currently open file. :source executes Ex commands from its source, which is %, the vimball file in this case.

To view the currently loaded plugins, use:


This lists all the loaded .vim plugin files with their complete path. The plugin installed from the vimball should also be listed in this output.

To remove a plugin which was installed from a Vimball use:

:RmVimball Foobar

The ability of ViM to read and execute vimballs is through a plugin called vimball. A default install of ViM should already have this plugin loaded.

4 thoughts on “How to use a Vimball”

  1. I just came back to learning to program using C++ . I have been a long time vim user . I dabbled with Emacs for a while but it wasn’t for me. Too much of a kitchen-sink.

    I was searching for a fix to an error I got when I was installing clang-complete. Thanks for the info about Vimballs. I am trying to get a hang with this yet another package management thingy.

    I am still a noob to coding so any tips I could get here would be a really big help.


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