I'm a longtime user of vim on Archlinux. I've been away from this system for a few months, so I can't be sure when this started (but I've made updates during this time, too).

Every time I open the app, I get an error about the spelling file.

$ vim
Warning: Cannot find word list "en.utf-8.spl" or "en.ascii.spl"
Warning: Cannot find word list "en.utf-8.spl" or "en.ascii.spl"
Warning: Cannot find word list "en.utf-8.spl" or "en.ascii.spl"
Press ENTER or type command to continue

$ vim --version
VIM - Vi IMproved 8.0 (2016 Sep 12, compiled Sep 15 2016 10:11:05)
Included patches: 1-5
Compiled by Arch Linux

$ sudo pacman -Ss vim | grep installed
extra/vim 8.0.0005-1 [installed]
extra/vim-runtime 8.0.0005-1 [installed]
community/ranger 1.7.2-1 [installed]

I reinstalled the app, but the problem persists. The problem is for all users.

  • 3
    This doesn't come from the package. It seems that you have set spell enabled but didn't downloaded the spell files. You can have a look at this blog post and this question. I think the solution is to download the spell files and put them in ~/.vim/spell. Note that usually vim offers to download the files automatically so I think the question I linked before might help you.
    – statox
    Oct 25, 2016 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


I struggled with the same problem and my vimrc was containing this lines. It disables the default, built-in netrw plugin. I don't know why but somehow spell files couldn't be downloaded if netrw disabled.

let g:loaded_netrwPlugin = 1 " Disables netrw.

Solution was at least for me to delete this line to enable netrw again.

  • Disabling netrw is suggested by some plugins, for example nvim-tree. I disabled the plugin and nvim offered to download the spell files!
    – Aurelien
    Apr 9 at 20:14

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