I've been using dotfiles created by other people to setup Vim. Recently I decided to create my own config and investigate what's NeoVim about. I'm using default OSX Terminal.app with zsh shell (I've installed oh-my-zsh). I can't figure out which colors does Vim use and why they differ from NeoVim. The only thing I've set so far is line number color (line 12 on screenshot).

How could I specify which colors for Vim to use? How to develop custom color scheme for Vim?

NeoVim is on the left pane on the screenshot below.

Screenshot of NeoVim(left) and Vim

1 Answer 1


This specific difference is caused by the background setting. It is because on a dark background, light font colors look better and vice versa. You can set it with the

set background=dark

in your vimrc.

The actual colorization rules use a relatively complex regexp-based ruleset, defined in syntax/ directory (on most Linuxes, it is in /usr/share/vim/vim<version>/syntax).

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