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space-vim is a vim distribution for vim plugins and resources, compatible with Vim and NeoVim.

It is inspired by spacemacs and mimics spacemacs in a high level, especially in the whole architecture, key bindings and GUI. if have ever tried spacemacs, you will find space-vim is very similar to it in user experience.

Elegance here means pleasing, graceful as well as simple. If you are unfamiliar with spacemacs, you can visit for more about the principle behind that, which is also what space-vim seeks.

The distribution is completely customizable using .spacevim, which is equivalent to .spacemacs in spacemacs.

screenshot (Terminal vim with space-vim-dark)

>> More screenshots


  • Beautiful interface: I wrote a dark only vim colorscheme space-vim-dark based on the dark version of spacemacs-theme previously. Now we have a new option: space-vim-theme, which is the successor of space-vim-dark that supports both dark and light background!

  • Mnemonic key bindings: commands have mnemonic prefixes like SPC b for all the buffer commands, this feature is mainly powered by vim-which-key. Furthermore, lots of basic key bindings are provided by vim-better-default. For different language layers, <LocalLeader>, , as default in space-vim, can be seen as the major-mode prefix in spacemacs.

  • Lean and mean: no nonsense wrappers, free from being bloated.

For whom?

  • the novice vim users
  • the vimmers who pursuit a beautiful appearance
  • the users using both vim and spacemacs

Have a look at the Introduction in wiki as well.

If you have been a vimmer for quite a while, just pick out the part you are interested in. space-vim is well-organized due to the layers concept, you can easily find what you want. Since some guys are interested in the statusline part of space-vim, this section has been extracted as eleline.vim.



Make sure you have installed:

  • git
  • Vim or NeoVim

The most recent Vim(NeoVim) version is recommended, for space-vim has been specifically optimized for Vim8 and NeoVim with respect to the startup time.

chocolatey is an easy way to install software on Windows, tools like fzf, rg, ag are necessary to get you a full-featured space-vim.

❗️ When layers enabled at the first time, you need to run :PlugInstall to install relevant plugins.

Linux and macOS

one-line installer

$ bash <(curl -fsSL


$ git clone /path/to/space-vim
$ cd /path/to/space-vim
$ make vim     # install space-vim for Vim
$ make neovim  # install space-vim for NeoVim


The easist way is to download install.cmd and run it as administrator, or install space-vim manually.



Given git and Vim/NeoVim have been installed already:

  1. Clone space-vim:

    /path/to/space-vim may be ~/.vim or ~/.config/nvіm if you so desire.

    $ git clone /path/to/space-vim
  2. Install vim-plug, refer to vim-plug installation section for more information:

    # For Vim
    $ curl -fLo ~/.vim/autoload/plug.vim --create-dirs \
    # For NeoVim
    sh -c 'curl -fLo "${XDG_DATA_HOME:-$HOME/.local/share}"/nvim/site/autoload/plug.vim --create-dirs \
  3. Create the symlinks and install plugins:

    Linux and macOS

    # For Vim
    $ ln -s /path/to/space-vim/init.vim ~/.vimrc
    $ cp /path/to/space-vim/init.spacevim ~/.spacevim
    $ vim -es +'PlugInstall' +qall
    # For NeoVim
    $ ln -s /path/to/space-vim/init.vim ~/.config/nvim/init.vim
    $ cp /path/to/space-vim/init.spacevim ~/.spacevim
    $ nvim +'PlugInstall' +qall


You can use .spacevim in your home directory to customize space-vim, where you can enable the existing layers, add your extra plugins and private configurations.

If .spacevim does not exist, vanilla vim will be loaded! Refer to init.spacevim as an example.


" Comment the following line if you don't want Vim and NeoVim to share the
" same plugin download directory.
let g:spacevim_plug_home = '~/.vim/plugged'

" Uncomment the following line to override the leader key. The default value is space key "<\Space>".
" let g:spacevim_leader = "<\Space>"

" Uncomment the following line to override the local leader key. The default value is comma ','.
" let g:spacevim_localleader = ','

" Enable the existing layers in space-vim
" Refer to for all available layers.
let g:spacevim_layers = [
      \ 'fzf', 'better-defaults', 'which-key',
      \ ]

" Uncomment the following line if your terminal(-emulator) supports true colors.
" let g:spacevim_enable_true_color = 1

" Uncomment the following if you have some nerd font installed.
" let g:spacevim_nerd_fonts = 1

" If you want to have more control over the layer, try using Layer command.
" if g:spacevim.gui
"   Layer 'airline'
" endif

Please refer to to take a look at the whole shipped layers.

Basically, g:spacevim_layers almost takes the place of Layer command. As far as I known, most people never use the option of Layer command, e.g., exclude, so g:spacevim_layers could save a lengthy Layer list, requiring less ceremony. Nevertheless, Layer command is still avaiable for some advanced uses.


" Manage your own plugins.
" Refer to for more detials.
function! UserInit()

  " Add your own plugin via Plug command.
  Plug 'junegunn/seoul256.vim'



" Override the default settings as well as adding extras
function! UserConfig()

  " Override the default settings.
  " Uncomment the following line to disable relative number.
  " set norelativenumber

  " Adding extras.
  " Uncomment the following line If you have installed the powerline fonts.
  " It is good for airline layer.
  " let g:airline_powerline_fonts = 1


If have a heavy customized configuration, you can organize them in private directory with packages.vim and config.vim too, which will be loaded on startup. The private directory can be considered as either a single layer, i.e., in which you can put packages.vim and config.vim, or a set of multiple layers.

How to use

First of all, I recommend you to look through the existing key bindings via SPC ?. What's more, you definitely can not miss reading the README of better-defaults layer, which is of great importance for you to get started quickly.

For detailed instruction, please refer to the README under the certain layer enabled, or you can see config.vim and packages.vim directly.

If the README is not elaborate, sorry for that, space-vim now is in the early stages and a ton of stuff are waiting to be done.


The modular design is originally from spacemacs. The implementation of logic in space-vim is similar to vim-plug.

If you want to know more about the bootstrap of space-vim, please see bootstrap in wiki.


Command Description
LayerStatus Check the status of layers
LayerCache Cache the information of layers in info.vim


For the sake of a better user experience, some extra settings should be done.

Enable GUI color in terminal vim

  • :echo has('termguicolors'), if 1, then your vim supports true colors.
  • See if your terminal-(emulator) supports true colors, refer to the gist

If these two requirements are satisfied, you could enable true color by uncommenting the line:

" Uncomment the following line if your terminal(-emulator) supports true colors.
let g:spacevim_enable_true_color = 1


Some fantastic fonts: see wiki tips: programming-fonts.


For instance, install Iosevka first and use it:

let &guifont = 'Iosevka:h16'

First, install the Source Code Pro or Powerline font, which is important for airline layer.

Second, since console Vim uses whatever font the console/terminal is using, you'll have to change the font setting of your terminal.


Run make update:

$ cd path/to/space-vim
$ make update

Alternatively, you can manually perform the following steps. If anything has changed with the structure of the configuration, you will have to create the appropriate symlinks.

$ cd path/to/space-vim
$ git pull origin master


If you encounter any problem or have any suggestions, please open an issue or send a PR.

Space-vim is still in beta. If you are interested, contributions are highly welcome.


I would like to thank the many people who have helped and contributed to this project. What's more, space-vim would never have become what it is now, without the help of these projects!



This project exists thanks to all the people who contribute.

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