I noticed Vim will choose the correct syntax when I open a file that ends with .c.in or .pl.in.

I would like to tell Vim to behave the same with extensions like .c.mako or .pl.mako.

How is it possible?

2 Answers 2


You can use autocommands in your .vimrc like

au BufNewFile,BufRead ?\+.c.mako setf c

This will make all *.c.mako files behave like *.c files.

Make an analogous for *.pl.mako

If you genenerally want *.any.mako to behave like *.any then you can use this autocommand:

au BufNewFile,BufRead ?\+.mako exe "doau filetypedetect BufRead " . fnameescape(expand("<afile>:r"))


You need to globally associate a filename extension with a setting for the 'filetype' option when the file is opened. There are a few ways to do this. One way is described by @Naumann in another answer. Let's look at two other ways. These don't involve your vimrc file and are the recommended approaches per :help new-filetype (which I encourage you to read!)

With the first option you create a file, let's call it perlmako.vim, in ~/.vim/ftdetect (Unix) or $USERPROFILE\vimfiles\ftdetect (Win) and add a line like either of these:

Method A:

au BufRead,BufNewFile *.pl.mako set filetype=perl

Method B:

au BufRead,BufNewFile *.pl.mako setfiletype perl

The difference between the two is that Method A always overrides the filetype while Method B only works if no filetype has been detected yet for that extension.

For the second option, create a file named filetype.vim in ~/.vim (Unix) or $USERPROFILE\vimfiles (Win). Then add the following:

if exists("did_load_filetypes")
augroup filetypedetect
    au! BufRead,BufNewFile *.pl.mako setfiletype perl
augroup END

You can add multiple setfiletype lines for whatever extensions you want. One important point about this method from Vim help:

Your filetype.vim will be sourced before the default FileType autocommands have been installed. Your autocommands will match first, and the ":setfiletype" command will make sure that no other autocommands will set 'filetype' after this.

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