I'm working on Open::This, which provides a command line utility that acts as a wrapper around vim, emacs and nano. The utility is called ot. It does things like translating ot lib/Foo/Bar.pm:99 into vim +99 lib/Foo/Bar.pm.

What I'd like to be able to do is translate ot lib/Foo/Bar.pm:99:50 into a vim command which will open lib/Foo/Bar.pm at line 99 and column 50. Is this possible to do without using a vim plugin?

To sum up, I know the command line syntax to open a file at an arbitrary line. Is it possible to do this and move the cursor to an arbitrary column at the same time?

2 Answers 2


You can have vim execute arbitrary commands (i.e., not just a line number) after loading the first file on the command line using +'{cmd}' or -c '{cmd}'. This is documented in vim's man page. For example, to load file Foo/Bar.pm then go to line 99, column 50, you can use:

vim +'call cursor(99,50)' Foo/Bar.pm

Note that this uses byte position for the column number, starting from one. If your file has multi-byte characters and you wish to use vim's understanding of column numbers instead, you can instead do:

vim +'normal! 99G50|' Foo/Bar.pm

This uses the normal commands G for go-to line and | meaning go to screen column (starting at one).

Which to use depends on how your tool emits column numbers.


You can do it like this:

vim -c "call cursor(19, 11)" .bashrc

This opens .bashrc and puts the cursor on line 19, column 11.

Note that <TAB> is one character!

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