Using vim editor, a common task is to browse buffers. I now use standard commands like :ls or a :bnext. In fact I set in my .vimrc:

"move amongs buffers with CTRL
map <C-J> :bnext<CR>
map <C-K> :bprev<CR>

I would like to browse buffers as list in quickfix window, in the simple (=excellent) way MRU plugin implements.

Is there a plugin as simple as MRU but acting on buffers ?

OK, a possible solution could be to use :CtrlpBuffers command, part of Ctrlp plugin but I'm not a big fan of Ctrlp, because sometime have strange beahviours I do not fully understand (the fuzzy-mode selections...); so I'm look for something really simple as MRU plugin.

BTW, I joked with :cexpr {expr} command, trying populate the quickfix windows with content of :buffers list, without success (maybe because my ignorance programming vimscripts)

Any suggestion ?


You can populate the quickfix list with each buffer like this:

:call setqflist(map(filter(range(1, bufnr('$')), 'buflisted(v:val)'), '{"bufnr": v:val}'))
  • setqflist() takes a List of Dictionary items describing each error (filename, line number, position, etc.). In this case we're specifying a minimal set of information: the buffer number
  • map() takes a List and an expression (a string) and returns a new List of the expression applied to each item of the input List. Here, we're taking a List of listed buffer numbers and formatting them for use in setqflist() ('{"bufnr": v:val}', where v:val is the value of the item in the list)
  • filter() filters a List, removing elements that don't satisfy a given expression. Here the expression is buflisted(v:val), meaning the buffer number exists and is listed, i.e. appears in :ls output
  • range(a, b) generates a List of numbers from a to b
  • bufnr() returns the number of a given buffer name. If the argument is '$', it returns the highest buffer number

That's a lot to type, and not very memorable, so you can wrap it in a command in your vimrc:

command! Qbuffers call setqflist(map(filter(range(1, bufnr('$')), 'buflisted(v:val)'), '{"bufnr":v:val}'))

Now you can just use :Qbuffers to populate the quickfix list.

If you want this to be updated automatically as new buffers are added, you can do something like this:

autocmd BufAdd * Qbuffers

I wouldn't recommend this, however, as it will render the quickfix list pretty unusable for things like :make or :grep.

  • 1
    thanks for explanations, tommcdo. Qbuffers is beautiful! Maybe i'd add a :copen at last of your call to immediately open the quickfix window and maybe it could be useful to report cursor position. I have to study a bit of vimscript :-) Feb 23 '15 at 11:46

You should try this mapping:

nnoremap gb :ls<CR>:b<Space>

At the prompt, type the desired buffer number and hit Enter.


  • the qustion where about listing buffers in the quickfind window.
    – VeXii
    Jan 7 '16 at 11:38
  • Yes, and my answer provides a lightweight alternative.
    – romainl
    Jan 7 '16 at 13:15
  • 1
    OP states he knows about the bufferlist but like to have it in the quickfix window. and you're solution is just to use the bufferlist?
    – VeXii
    Jan 7 '16 at 20:21

Have a look at the bufexplorer plugin. It opens a browsable list of all buffers in a sidebar, similar to the mentioned MRU plugin. Also, there are several more such plugins on vim.org.

PS: You've asked the same question on Stack Overflow; please don't submit the identical question to multiple sites in parallel!

  • tks Ingo, I tested a bit bufexplorer and I like it. I posted also here because a stackoverflow suggested to do Feb 23 '15 at 11:33
  • 1
    Yes, I saw that. I would have preferred you had then deleted the original SO post, or at least linked to the cross-posting. Feb 23 '15 at 12:48

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