Can I integrate some form of symbol completion to Vim? Dedicated TeX editors like TeXMaker provide a list of symbols for completion (for example, \al shows a list with \alpha, \la shows \lambda and \langle).

Please note that TeX has a rather large number of symbols, so suggestions involving manual mapping of \al to \alpha would be useless.

Related plugins I have:

  • SuperTab with let g:SuperTabDefaultCompletionType="context" and set omnifunc=syntaxcomplete#Complete
  • LaTeX-Box

If it matters, I use XeLaTeX for compiling.


  • Complementary to this, there's detexify for when you know how to draw a character but you don't remember the name of the command. Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 22:09
  • I'm planning to add such a feature to vimtex, based on the dictionary completion as used by for instance latex-suite. vimtex is a relatively new plugin and is based on LaTeX-Box, so it should feel somewhat familiar. Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 17:55
  • @KarlYngveLervåg I switched to vimtex recently. Did you get around to adding this feature? Then I can nuke the dictionary, and perhaps you can post using vimtex as an answer.
    – muru
    Commented Jan 23, 2016 at 23:46
  • Yes. I recommend that you use snippets for complicated expansions, but for simple ones, you can look at :h vimtex-imaps fo a description of the feature implemented in vimtex. Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 11:15

2 Answers 2


To expand commands in LaTeX, I use a dictionary copied from latex-suite (in details, this one) and put it in ~/.vim/dictionaries and then using

autocmd FileType * exec("setlocal dictionary+=".$HOME."/.vim/dictionaries/".expand('<amatch>'))
set completeopt=menuone,longest,preview
set complete+=k

Idea from here. I use it with supertab; the dictionary file is not really complete (it has \alpha but not \langle) but that would be a matter of completing it...

One option for adding symbols would be to parse (not complex --- just a bit of shell magic will do it) the detexify database. For example, one could use:

{ curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/kirel/detexify/master/lib/latex/symbols.yaml |
   grep -Po '(?<=\\)[[:alpha:]]{2,}';
   curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/gerw/vim-latex-suite/master/ftplugin/latex-suite/dictionaries/dictionary
} | sort -u | tee ~/.vim/dictionaries/tex
  • I knew that @muru would not resist to find the right script! Btw, would be better to add also the keywords from latex-suite dictionary...
    – Rmano
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 19:15
  • 1
    Done. It added 600+ words to the list from detexify. :)
    – muru
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 19:40

You could use a snippet completion plugin like Snipmate or Ultisnips, in conjunction with this multi-language snippets collection.

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