Does VIM have a way to show symbols as characters?

So lambda can be displayed as λ (yet keep its underlying ascii text) for example.

Something like emacs pretty-symbols

  • 1
    Yes, you may want to look at the conceal option : :h conceal.
    – nobe4
    Jan 13, 2017 at 7:36
  • @nobe4 worth adding as answer?
    – ideasman42
    Jan 13, 2017 at 7:39

1 Answer 1


You can do this with Vim syntax's conceal feature, which allows you to hide matched text or replace it with a single character:

:syntax match keyword "\<lambda\>" conceal cchar=λ
:set conceallevel=1

For more details, see:

:help conceal
:help conceallevel
:help concealcursor
  • Thanks for the starting point, but this doesn't isolate lambda, eg: lambdafoobar turns into λfoobar
    – ideasman42
    Jan 13, 2017 at 10:06
  • 1
    Probably syntax keyword might be better
    – muru
    Jan 13, 2017 at 10:14

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