Is there any way to jump to a buffer by entering buffer number right from :ls?

I mean, why this command expect me to Press ENTER or type command to continue, if pressing for example 2, wouldn't do anything?

Obviously I won't any plugin to be installed, at least one little script in .vimrc.


2 Answers 2


Without changing anything the quickest way from that prompt is probably to press :b + number + Enter. But as a bit of a shortcut here's what I (and a lot of other people) use that gets me there from Normal mode:

:nnoremap <leader>ls :ls<cr>:b

You can replace <leader>ls with any unused Normal mode key combo. After pressing the keys you'll see the buffer list and you can enter the number + Enter without dealing with that Press ENTER... prompt.

Update: OP would like to override :ls altogether. That can be done with

:cnoremap ls ls<cr>:b

but this is not recommended since the mapping will happen anywhere "ls" is typed in a command or search term! (Thanks to Peter Rincker for the warning.) While you can overcome this by typing Ctrl+V before typing "ls" anywhere (e.g. to search for "hills" you'd have to do /hil^Vls) that's hardly convenient. Better to choose a key-combo that is unlikely to occur in commands or search terms. In Vim help they have an example with "_ls" so :cnoremap _ls ....

Update 2: I've since removed the <space> from my own mapping and edited the mappings above to reflect this. It's not necessary and, more importantly, I occasionally decide I want to unload a buffer from this point using :bd (aka :bdelete). The <space> meant having to type Backspace before d and the buffer number.

Also, there supposedly was going to be an update five months ago based on a suggestion in the comments from @Rich but that seems to have fallen through the cracks 'til now...

He offers a more robust handling of a command-line override of ls. His version behaves slightly differently from the :cnoremap mapping above: the latter shows the buffer list after typing ls while the other waits until a subsequent press of Enter. It's trivial to adapt his solution to match the above. Which one to choose is simply a matter of taste. Both have the benefit of avoiding any Ctrl-V nonsense and only activating upon typing ls/ls<CR> right after the command-line's opening : versus activating inappropriately upon typing them somewhere else.

Here's the improved mapping to replace the one above. Simply add <CR> after the first ls to get the other flavor.

cnoremap <expr> ls (getcmdtype() == ':' && getcmdpos() == 1) ? "ls\<CR>:b" : "ls"

I recommend trying both and going with whatever suits you best but make sure you :cunmap one before trying the other.

Or you can blow all of this off and just use <leader>ls from Normal mode like most people prefer to do. :)

  • Good solution thought. But is it possible to wrap native :ls to :ls<cr>:b<space> (from your example). I mean about to overwrite rather than append new function. Thanks
    – kAldown
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 12:09
  • Sure...see my updated answer.
    – B Layer
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 12:14
  • Be careful with cmap's as they can expand in other command-line "modes" like search, /. Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 15:41
  • @PeterRincker you were right, now I can not search for :find utils, because it contains ls :D
    – kAldown
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 15:50
  • 1
    Vim help suggests typing Ctrl-V before you type any of the c-mapped chars so :find uti^Vls. Still a pain but I don't yet see any better approach. Perhaps you can map instead :lsx or :lsq and get used to using that instead of :ls. ("lsx" and "lsq" are unlikely to appear in real-life commands or searches.)
    – B Layer
    Commented Dec 14, 2017 at 16:56

You can get a workflow that's close to what you want without configuring vim at all.

You can jump to the nth buffer using <C-^> (ctrl + 6).

If you type a digit while viewing the output of ls, then that digit is stored and can be passed to the next command.

In order to produce the fake vim screenshots, I increased the font size so I can only see a few lines, and set the following listchars.

execute("set listchars=eol:\xc2\xac,tab:>\\ ,trail:\xe2\x81\x9b,extends:>,precedes:<,space:\\ ") 

So, if you do

$ mkdir -p /tmp/vim-example
$ cd /tmp/vim-example
$ vim ./a ./b

Then your screen will look like this:

./a              0,0-1         All
"./a" [New File] 

You can look at the files by pressing :ls<cr>.

  1 %a   "./a"                    
      line 1                      
  2      "./b"                    
      line 0                      
Press ENTER or type command to con

From there, if you type 2 and then <C-^> you will be taken to the next buffer.

./b              0,0-1         All
"./b" [New File]  

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