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Since Vim and NeoVIM defaults to UTF-8, does it make any sense to specify the same option explicitly in vimrc? set encoding="utf-8"

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It would be set encoding=utf-8, no quotes. set encoding="utf-8" would be an error because "utf-8" would be considered a comment, thus it would be the same as set encoding=.


Vim does not actually default 'encoding' to UTF-8. It defaults to latin1, but will change based on the locale of your environment.

However, since changing 'encoding' at runtime is dangerous (as in, it can cause a crash -- see below), Neovim decided to only support encoding=utf-8. This vastly simplifies the code, since now everything is working with UTF-8 internally, and only has to encode/decode when interfacing with the outside world (saving files in specific encodings, converting input from the locale's encoding, etc.).

IMHO, it's a good idea to always put set encoding=utf-8 in your vimrc. It automatically enables saner encoding detection settings for 'fileencodings' and supports any characters that you'll need to store.


The crash example I gave in 2009 when I suggested changing Vim's default value for 'encoding':

vim -u NONE --cmd 'set enc=utf8 list' -c 'let &lcs="nbsp:".nr2char("8215")'
:put =nr2char("160")
:set enc=latin1
  • What about "vim --help"? That's probably terminal settings that need changing but I only managed to output help contents with all language specific characters cut out. For example 'ŻÓŁTY' => 'TY' – Sharak Jan 26 at 17:25

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