If I have a vim session with two splits, when I execute a :! command, the result is shown in the entire window. Is it possible to have the output shown just on the active split?

  • 2
    No, this is not possible. The output if :! is shown in the command line, of which there is only one, and can only be at the bottom of the screen. The best I can think of is creating a new buffer/:split underneath the current one... Feb 19, 2015 at 15:43
  • @Carpetsmoker, For me, the output of :! does not go to the command line. Instead the vim session disappears and the entire terminal window shows the terminal output, including what was printed before vim was invoked.
    – drs
    Feb 19, 2015 at 15:47
  • 1
    Maybe that's due to the terminal you use and/or the TERM setting? Feb 19, 2015 at 15:49
  • This difference has to do with altscreen (in screen) or alternate-screen (in tmux).
    – tommcdo
    Feb 22, 2015 at 3:31

3 Answers 3


You can use this command :

:new | 0read ! command

This will open up a new split and puts the output of the command in this split (though not in the currently active split as you mentioned).

new - creates new split

read - to get the command output

command - actual command


You can make a command to do just this:

  1. Open a new split (or tab)
  2. Run a command and show the results in that split (or tab)

The command would be something like this:

:Rsplit command


:Rtab command

In your .vimrc you can write this:

" execute a command and show its output in a split window
command! -nargs=* -complete=shellcmd Rsplit execute "new | r! <args>"

" execute a command and show its output in a new tab
command! -nargs=* -complete=shellcmd Rtab execute "tabnew | r! <args>"

You can find how to make your own commands with :help :command.


That won't be possible. You'll have to split your screen with another tool like tmux (IIRC), screen, ...

If you don't need to interact with the program executed, you can however import its results directly in any window (in the vim sense :h windows) you wish with :r!command line. :h :r!

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