Situation: I've typed this:

vim foo.js

Now I have one split, a file editing buffer and a terminal.

The good: I can quit by closing the terminal first, then the file buffer.

The bad: But if I close the file buffer, and then the terminal, vim doesn't exit, but instead creates a new buffer editing the file, which I've just closed.

I find this distracting and confusing. I don't want it to open up foo.js again.

If that doesn't seem like a bug/misfeature, consider this use-case:

  • I open up foo.js
  • :terminal
  • close foo.js
  • open up foo.js in another instance of vim
  • in the original vim instance, close the :terminal

In this case when the original vim instance tries to open foo.js (instead of quitting) I get a large error screen about "Another program may be editing the same file."

How do I make vim quit when I close the last buffer, even if it's a :terminal?

2 Answers 2


Thanks to @Matt I now know that if I close the terminal buffer myself instead of having the 'term_finish':'close' argument of term_start() do it, then it doesn't do the weird behavior of sometimes opening a different file.

So I've 'term_finish':'close' that with an exit_cb that closes the buffer.

Here's what I use in full:

function! JW_on_term_exit(a, b)
    normal q!
nnoremap <silent> <Bslash> :below call term_start('env TERM=st-256color zsh', { 'exit_cb': 'JW_on_term_exit', 'term_name': 'zsh', 'norestore': 1 })<Return>

You can create a mapping which will close the terminal buffer directly. Then Vim will not open an additional empty buffer and will exit.

For simplicity I assume that the terminal is running shell, so Ctrl-D exits it normally.

tnoremap <silent><C-D> <C-D><C-\><C-N>ZQ
  • Thanks! This is an interesting idea. Unfortunately I do sometimes press ctrl-D for things other than closing my terminal. This technique helped me think of a full solution though!
    – JasonWoof
    Commented Sep 1, 2019 at 20:58

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