TL;DR: How do I permanently and persistently :set syntax=context for *.tex files?

I've been using vim for a LaTeX project, with monokai-tasty as the colour scheme.

The default syntax highlighting seems to be TeX Highlighting

:set syntax=tex

I personally prefer ConTeXt Highlighting

:set syntax=context

but cannot figure out how to make it stick for all *.tex buffers, or between sessions.

I've tried several ways of getting this to work, mostly through vimrc, though none of them have. Most recently I created ~/.vim/ftdetect/tex.vim containing

autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead *.tex set syntax=context

My vimrc can be seen here, in case there are any obvious collisions with what I'm trying to do there.

Not sure if I've given enough information. I am, of course, happy to add any more if it's not enough to be helpful.

2 Answers 2


I think what you are looking for is the variable g:tex_flavor. Put this in your vimrc file:

let g:tex_flavor = 'context'

For more information, see :help g:tex_flavor.

  • Should that be in ~/.vim/ftdetect/tex.vim or in vimrc? Should it follow something like autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead *.tex let g:tex_flavor = 'context'.
    – BitFlow
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 13:22
  • This seems to work when loading a file but upon rerunning :source ~/.vimrc it reverts to the same result as :set syntax=tex so perhaps it isn't working at all?
    – BitFlow
    Commented Jul 2, 2019 at 16:43
  • As I wrote in the answer: "Put this in your vimrc file". Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 14:02
  • To clarify my second comment, which you seem to have skipped over: having tried that, it isn’t working as I would expect or hope.
    – BitFlow
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 14:19
  • 1
    You should not need to do :source ~/.vimrc, since this is done when Vim starts. The file should be correctly highlighted when you open it, not when you source your vimrc file. Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 13:50

If you just want to set the syntax always to context, just put this in your vimrc:

autocmd BufReadPost *.tex set syntax=context

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