I am writing a little hack for vim session that will save and load sessions more conveniently - I am aiming for more project-style sessions.

When you are in directory my-proj and call vim, it should automatically open the session associated with the current directory. (This is 'almost' working so far - the problem is with getting the current directory). Saving the 'project' (i.e. a session) can be done with SaveSession

I have done this so far:

let g:session_autosave = 'yes'
let g:session_autoload = 'yes'
let g:session_default_name = getcwd()

The minor problem is, if I call vim ~/x.txt, getcwd() will not return ~/x.txt. It will return the current directory in bash (which could be almost anything). How can I get the directory that vim was called on in the command line (i.e. ~ in this case)? And if vim was opened with just vim then it should get the current working directory.

  • Just a hint, but maybe :h autochdir will help you.
    – grodzik
    Feb 2, 2017 at 8:31
  • I don't think this is what I am looking for. I have nerdtree, so opening a file that is nested within the 'project' will cause the path to be incorrect Feb 2, 2017 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


If you want to get the directory of the first file in :argv (the filename arguments when vim was opened): let g:session_default_name = fnamemodify(argv()[0], ':p:h'). This will fail if vim was opened with no arguments.

To fallback on getcwd() where there were no arguments:

" Returns the directory of the first file in `argv` or `cwd` if it's empty
function FindSessionDirectory() abort
  if len(argv()) > 0
    return fnamemodify(argv()[0], ':p:h')
  return getcwd()
let g:session_default_name = FindSessionDirectory()
  • I don't think the first option will work since I use nerdtree, so opening a file that is nested within the 'project' will cause the path to be incorrect. Feb 2, 2017 at 19:55
  • The second option looks very promising. I shall look into this and attempt to default to getcwd where argv doesn't work (I am a noob at Vimscript though so this may take a while) Feb 2, 2017 at 20:16
  • 1
    Added a function with the fallback to cwd()
    – Nate Bosch
    Feb 3, 2017 at 3:37
  • I appear to be getting some errors: Error detected while processing function FindSessionDirectory: line 2: E15: Invalid expression: ], ':p:h') E116: Invalid arguments for function fnamemodify(argv()[], ':p:h') E15: Invalid expression: fnamemodify(argv()[], ':p:h') Press ENTER or type command to continue Feb 3, 2017 at 7:33
  • Oops, I missed a 0 - should be argv()[0]. Updated the answer
    – Nate Bosch
    Feb 4, 2017 at 7:14

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