When I'm in a modified buffer and try to open a file using :e otherFile I get

E37: No write since last change (add ! to override)

Since this happens fairly often, I'd like to automatically save the current file before opening the new one.

That's why I added this to my vimrc:

autocmd BufLeave * silent! wall

But this autocommand doesn't help when using :e otherFile.

Using Neovim v0.4.3

  • 1
    Why not use :h 'hidden' ?
    – dedowsdi
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 8:28
  • Thanks for your comment @dedowsdi! Can you describe the difference between :set hidden and :set autowriteall in an answer? Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 9:37
  • Sorry, don't have time for that. You can read :h 'hidden' and :h 'autowriteall', then try both (make sure only one of them is set), you should see the difference immediately, won't cost more 15 mins.
    – dedowsdi
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 10:40
  • I read the docs and tried both hidden and autowriteall alternatingly but couldn't tell the difference in behavior. In both cases the buffer that I was leaving was saved. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 14:37
  • You must make sure only one of them is on. 'hidden' won't work if 'autowrite' or 'autowriteall' is on.
    – dedowsdi
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 22:41

2 Answers 2


The usual solution is

set hidden

This allows a buffer to be made « hidden », i.e., not physically shown in a window, while still unsaved.

Without 'hidden' on, vim’s default behavior is to not allow closing a modified buffer without being forced (via !s on commands). 'hidden' allows a third state between open and closed.

Do note that 'confirm' may be useful here; I believe it instructs vim to confirm, when you quit, the save/don’t save state of any modified buffers.


One way to achieve this is to

:set autowriteall

This will save the file before switching to another and also save it before quitting Vim. So every time you type commands like :bn, short form for :bnext, the buffer will be saved automatically and the buffer changed, in this case for the next one in a circular manner.

Gleaned from :help autowrite and :help autowriteall:

Write the contents of the file, if it has been modified, on each next, :rewind, :last, :first, :previous, :stop, :suspend, :tag, :!, make, CTRL-] and CTRL-^ command; and when a :buffer, CTRL-O, CTRL-I command takes you to a new file. Also write when using :edit, :enew, :quit, :qall, :exit, :xit, :recover and closing the Vim window.

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