How to install and use the vim-airline plugin for Vim

Vim using vim-airline for statusline

vim-airline is a newer and lighter alternative to the vim-powerlinee plugin. It shows a beautiful and informative statusline in Vim.


The vim-airline plugin can be installed for Pathogen by cloning its Github repository.

Fancy symbols

vim-airline can display those fancy symbols in the statusline in just a few steps:

  1. Download the powerline-fonts that have been patched to have the fancy powerline symbols.
  2. In the downloaded fonts, find the font that you use for your terminal and copy over those fonts to ~/.fonts
  3. Install the fonts using: fc-cache -vf ~/.fonts
  4. Once installed, configure your terminal to use these fonts. For GNOME Terminal, this can be done in Edit > Profile Preferences > General.
  5. Enable fancy symbols by adding this line to your vimrc: let g:airline_powerline_fonts=1

Tried with: Vim 7.3 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

6 thoughts on “How to install and use the vim-airline plugin for Vim

  1. Thanks for this, the terminal font settings is what I missed.

    I’m using Debian Wheezy (7.x). I found it easier to install the fonts in a system location eg.

    cd /usr/local/share/fonts
    git clone
    fc-cache -vf


    fc-list | grep powerline

    to confirm they are there.

    This is also useful for all system users to benefit from vim-airline looking its best.


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