How can I deal with the colored outputs of shell commands when inputing them with :read?

As an example, I have a self-defined git log command, and I would like to see it in a split window. That works well enough using

:new | read !git log-command

Unfortunately, the command outputs has some colours. And thus the result looks like

  • ^[[33mac74ef4^[[m 2018-10-22 [me, N] - some text

I guess I could just use as :substitute command to clean it up afterwards, or maybe pipe it through sed.

But I wanted to know if there was a better way to handle it?

As a minimum, I would like to remove those ^[[m characters. But even better would be to recognise them and adapt it to color the buffer accordingly.

  • Can Vim interpret terminal color escape codes? may be useful Oct 24, 2018 at 11:26
  • 1
    Specifically for git, you can disable colours, which is what I do. Can also use git --no-color. I would also expect git to automatically disable colours when outputting to something without stdin btw Oct 24, 2018 at 11:30
  • 1
    If there is no way to disable the generation of the Ansi escape sequences from your command (using e.g. a command line switch, usually --color=auto just works), you can strip it by post processing the output, e.g. :r! git log |sed "s,\x1B\[[0-9;]*[a-zA-Z],,g" Oct 24, 2018 at 16:23
  • I might have an older oversion of git running, but --no-color is not recognised. I actually tried that. So sed and :substitute are the best options. Well the other page mentions some plugins, I might give them a try. Oct 25, 2018 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


Best way is to avoid the output of these ANSI escape codes. Some commands to this automatically when the output is not to a terminal, others have a command-line argument, e.g. --no-color or --color=never (even moderately outdated Git versions understand this). Some also react to the terminal type, so prepending TERM=dumb git ... might work, too (it does for me).

Alternatively, you can strip off the codes, e.g. with sed:

git ... | sed 's#\x1b\[[0-9;]*[mK]##g'

You can do the same inside Vim, too:


Finally, there are plugins which translate (but not remove) the ANSI escape codes to Vim colors (via syntax highlighting and concealing of the sequences):

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