I like running gVim in a single instance, i.e. a single gui window with separate tabs for each file I'm editing.

I also run a linux desktop environment that has multiple desktop workspaces. E.g. GNOME, KDE or Xfce.

I would like to have a single instance of gVim per desktop workspace.

I currently alias gvim to gvim --remote-tab-silent. Unfortunately this create a single instance (gui window) which has tabs for all of the files open in gVim from all of my workspaces.

As each workspace I use is for a different git branch it's easy to get confused as to which branch a file I'm editing is in from.

  • 3
    Can you just change your alias to gvim --remote-tab-silent --servername [Workspace name]?
    – Rich
    Feb 7, 2020 at 12:15
  • (Not that it’s super relevant) but how do you manage to have each workspace be a different branch? Are you using git-worktree for that?
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Feb 7, 2020 at 14:02
  • I have multiple git workspaces. Each of them is on a different branch. I work on each git 'workspace' in a separate desktop 'workspace'. [Sorry about overloading the term 'workspace'. Feb 7, 2020 at 14:43
  • I haven't used --servername before. But this looks like it will work. Any idea how I find out the workspace name? I'll search for that. Feb 10, 2020 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


Creating a function for this works

function gv () { 
  WS=`xprop -root -notype _NET_CURRENT_DESKTOP | awk '{print $3}'`;
  gvim --servername $WS --remote-tab-silent $@

Note that tab completion doesn't work for me for the function so I alias something to this function.

xprop ... returns the workspace number in column 3 awk extracts just column 3

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