When I press gx over a link in vim, it opens it in an external application, when it does this it also suspends Vim.

How do I prevent it from suspending Vim, so that I can use Vim while browsing whatever it opened externally.

  • 1
    Can you specify your OS, Vim version? It does not suspend here (OSX, MacVim 8.0)
    – nobe4
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 16:13
  • Using GVim on Windows, I do not have this problem. However, at the bottom, vim says, "Press <cr> to continue," which is just Enter. Using terminal vim in MinGW (I know, all bets are off), it doesn't open a web page, but still doesn't freeze.
    – jpaugh
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 19:58
  • Debian Jessie 8.4.0, Vim 7.4. Hm... mine seems to be a bit iffy, if it opens it will suspend vim, if it doesn't it will not suspend. Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 2:48
  • Vim 8 with Fedora 25 here, works by default without suspending. Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 9:26

3 Answers 3


Use vim-shell plugin instead with this config:

let g:netrw_nogx = 1 " disable netrw's gx mapping.
nnoremap gx :Open<CR>
  • 1
    Another alternative might be my xdg_open.vim plugin. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 21:54
  • This doesn't work for me, :Open is still blocking vim. I use NVIM v0.2.2 on lubuntu 17.10
    – chriad
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 20:31

What works for me with neovim v0.2.2 on lubuntu 17.10 is the open-browser.vim plugin (https://github.com/tyru/open-browser.vim) with the following settings in my init.vim.

let g:netrw_nogx = 1 " disable netrw's gx mapping.
    nmap gx <Plug>(openbrowser-smart-search)
vmap gx <Plug>(openbrowser-smart-search)

I had the same problem, so I wrote my own function for it. (Thanks to the guy below who had a way to do it without having to use the registry. I modified my own with this.)

The strategy is to store the url under the Vim-cursor to a variable

let url = expand('<cWORD>')

and then use bash to open firefox with the url as argument:

call feedkeys(':!bash firefox ' . url . ' &' . "\<CR>\<ESC>" )

The & is used to open firefox in the background, and the \<CR>\<ESC> is to enter the command and escape the message box that it prompts.

We put this into a function that we call OpenURL() and then remap gx to run that function.

nnoremap gx :call OpenURL()<CR>

The <CR> is again to actually execute the command.

In total it looks like this:

function! OpenURL()
    let url = expand('<cWORD>')
    call feedkeys(':!bash firefox ' . url . ' &' . "\<CR>\<ESC>" )

nnoremap gx :call OpenURL()<CR>
  • 1
    Welcome to Vi and Vim! This answer would benefit greatly from an edit describing how the code works. (PS you can save/restore registers; combined with a try/catch, you could make sure not to lose whatever is already saved in @a, if you were interested. But you can skip registers entirely: let url = expand('<cWORD>').)
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 20:33

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