vim Extending Vim The manual method


Single file plugin

Put the file under $HOME/.vim/plugin or $HOME/vimfiles/plugin

This would source the plugin on startup of Vim. Now the user could use everything defined in it. If the plugin however needs activation, the user either has to execute the command themselves whenever they want to use it, or add the command to .vimrc


A bundle is a directory structure that the plugin uses. It consists of all the files of the plugin under the appropriate sub-directories.

To install such a plugin the sub-directories should be merged with their counterparts in $HOME/.vim/plugin. This approach however leads to mixing of the files of different plugins in the same directories and could possibly lead to namespace problems.

Another approach is to copy the entire directory into $HOME/.vim/bundle.

When using this approach there should be at least one .vim file under the $HOME/.vim/bundle/autoload directory. These files would be sourced by vim on startup.

Note: Depending on the operating system of the user the prefix of all paths might be $HOME/vimfiles. For more details see How plugins work