I would like to hard wrap XML files during editing. In every other filetype my set textwidth=80 works fine. But in XML something overrides the insertion of line breaks. I tried adding t to formatoptions but that doesn't make a difference. I believe there is an automatic formatting command being called from the default xml filetype plugin, which overrides all else.

How can I set up vim to do automatic line breaking in XML?

1 Answer 1


Yes, the xml filetype plugin disables auto wrapping text using textwidth with the following:

setlocal formatoptions-=t

This removes the option t (= "Auto-wrap text using textwidth") from formatoptions. See :help formatoptions and :help fo-table.

To overwrite do the following:

Create the file ~/.vim/after/ftplugin/xml.vim (or $HOME/vimfiles/after/ftplugin/xml.vim on Windows) with the following content:

" prevent multiple loading
if exists("b:did_my_ftplugin") | finish | endif
let b:did_my_ftplugin = 1

setlocal formatoptions+=t

The files in ~/.vim/after are loaded after the default plugins are loaded. So this can be used to overwrite settings done in the default ftplugin. See :help after-directory. Here the option t is readded to formatoptions.

  • I found I also needed setlocal formatoptions-=l and setlocal formatexpr=. This of course disables automatic formatting. It also seems to break auto indentation (disable with setlocal indentexpr=). Maybe the XML plugin needs patching? Or is there another solution?
    – tbrk
    Feb 25, 2019 at 9:00
  • 1
    @tbrk xml filetype maintainer here. Why do you think you need patching? Apr 21, 2019 at 8:40
  • Hello @ChristianBrabandt, when I enabled hard line wrapping using the options given above, the automatic tag indentation started to behave strangely. However, I just found that there is a tag indentation problem on my Mac even before changing any options and that tag indentation + hard line wrapping works fine on my Linux box (fo+=t, fo-=l, formatexpr=; both using Vim 8.1). I take back my comment about the XML plugin needing paching. Sorry for the noise!
    – tbrk
    Apr 21, 2019 at 8:58
  • The fo+=t flag in the after/ftplugin file greatly improves the experience of editing xml files! Nov 10, 2020 at 12:11

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