Is it possible to view the help in Vim at a text width greater than 77 characters? Can Vim reflow the help text?

2 Answers 2


A "help page" is nothing more than a buffer with filetype=help and nomodifiable set.

You can make it modifiable with :set modifiable, and then edit it like you would any buffer, e.g. by setting the textwidth to what you like and using gq to re-format text.

If you would like to do this automatically, you can do something like:

augroup help
    autocmd Filetype help
        \ set modifiable noreadonly textwidth=120
        \| normal! gqG
augroup end

However, a quick test reveals that this doesn't work very well for many help pages, so I wouldn't recommend doing this. You'll have to make a custom formatprg or equalprg.

  • That most likely won't work very well, because the Vim help files are written for terminal size windows. It might be easier to view the html vim documentation files with a text browser, which should be able to reflow for wider screens. Dec 21, 2016 at 20:53

I don't think it's possible. Vim just displays a text file in a help window with proper highlighting. All help files are available at $VIMRUNTIME/doc/ and they are already formatted with that width.

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