so this is a case where the toy doesn't look like what's advertised on the box. I tried to install the material-theme on my vim, which should be a standard exercise. However this is what it looks like on my vim:

enter image description here

as opposed to what's advertised here: enter image description here

vim colors content:

~/.vim/colors $ ls -1

vim syntax files:

~/.vim/syntax $ ls -1

what am I missing?


enter image description here

it works after trying on macvim! however it's a bitter sweet feeling.. b/c i'm so used to working on vim from within the terminal.. having to launch a new app for vim almost defeats the purpose of using vim the first place for me.. so not sure what to do next.

  • Possibly...try set background=dark (or if it's already set to that set it to light).
    – B Layer
    Jan 26 '18 at 10:40
  • Tried both didn't work either way
    – abbood
    Jan 26 '18 at 10:42
  • Too bad. Is the theme made for terminal and you're using gui vim? (Or vice versa?) That's the only other theory I have off the top of my head.
    – B Layer
    Jan 26 '18 at 10:45

Looking through the color settings in the theme, it's only defining the full color range for the GUI, and is using the default 16 terminal colors. Your screen shot appears to be using fairly standard terminal colors, so I am going to assume that you are running in a terminal. If you are editing local files, the easiest way to get the full color scheme would be to switch from vim to gvim. (If you are using the default install of vim on a Linux desktop, you may need to install one of the GUI packages.)

If you have to run in a terminal, and your terminal supports 256 colors, you may be able to approximate the colors by converting the theme. This works better for some themes than for others, because 256 colors is still a lot fewer than the ~16 million available to the GUI. Getting 256 color terminal support if you don't have it set up already is a whole topic unto itself, but there is some good advice in the vim wiki here: http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/256_colors_in_vim

(Short version: If your terminal capabilities are configured correctly, :set t_Co=256 should be sufficient. If not, you may be in for a crash course in one of the most arcane subjects in modern computing.)

From there, there are several plugins that will attempt to convert a GUI theme to a 256 color theme. http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Using_GUI_color_settings_in_a_terminal has some instructions for how to use guicolorscheme or CSApprox. I haven't used either of these in a very long time, so I can't comment on their relative merits.

  • 1
    This is a fine answer, but vim now has termguicolors which would seem to supersede some of these points. In particular, many if not most terminals today support 16 million colors.
    – Mass
    Jan 26 '18 at 21:07
  • I'm running vim on iterm on osx.. I'll dig deeper to get my complete setup
    – abbood
    Jan 27 '18 at 17:35
  • got it.. macvim.. it works! but not entirely happy.. see update..
    – abbood
    Jan 27 '18 at 18:53
  • So the next question is how to make iterm or mac terminal support 16 million colors so that I can get the material scheme experience without having to switch to macvim
    – abbood
    Jan 27 '18 at 18:57
  • @abbood: iTerm has supported this since sometime in 2016. You just need to add set termguicolors to your .vimrc.
    – Rich
    Jan 29 '18 at 14:26

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