The help entry for filter explains what the idea is and gives some examples of filters like sort and indent, but does not list the possibilities.

How can I find out all the possible filters?

1 Answer 1


consider every program that reads stdin and writes stdout a filter. What is available is out of scope of vim. It largely depends on your OS and installation. The sort of the example in the vim-docu is not part of vim. Besides, it is a bad example, since quite a while vim has inbuild-sort.

sed, perl, python, node, cat, tail, less .... are all valid filters

  • Ok, so "filter" just means any shell command that accepts from standard input? If that is true, it is not clear from the help file. Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 16:06
  • 1
    "filter" is a common term for this kind of programs
    – Naumann
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 1:18
  • 1
    @TylerDurden The Art of Unix Programming has some more detailed description/explanations of "filters" (e.g. here and here). The book is worth reading in its entirety for any programmer, IMHO (not just Unixprogrammers). Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 18:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.