When I do a change in my .vimrc, I usually exit Vim and open it again. Is there an easier way to reload the new .vimrc changes?

3 Answers 3



:source $MYVIMRC

inside Vim to reload the vimrc file. Or, a shorter version:


as mentioned in a comment by kenorb.

You may also find it useful to map either of these forms to a key. For example:

nnoremap <Leader>r :source $MYVIMRC<CR>
  • 2
    Shortcut: :so $MYVIMRC.
    – kenorb
    Feb 20, 2015 at 22:43
  • @kenorb: I've added this possibility; thanks for mentioning it! Feb 21, 2015 at 4:34
  • :so $m<Tab> ← extra-short-cut May 31, 2015 at 21:46
  • 3
    Save two more keystrokes with :so %. % is set to the current file name of the buffer you edit, in this case $MYVIMRC
    – cbaumhardt
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:30
  • 2
    By far the easiest way to do this is to automatically reload the vimrc upon save - check the other answers.
    – Tom Hale
    Aug 6, 2016 at 8:25

If you just want to reload the file once in a while

:source $MYVIMRC

as Paul wrote is correct. If you end up changing your vimrc often, you could add something like this to your vimrc file:

autocmd BufWritePost .vimrc,_vimrc source $MYVIMRC

This will reload the file when you write it (from within that vim session)

  • 1
    johannes: Do we need to edit the .vimrc through vim for this command to automatically source the file? Feb 3, 2015 at 18:25
  • 5
    note a vimrc file can also be called other things: for example vimrc (if it's in ~/.vim).
    – user50136
    Feb 4, 2015 at 6:09
  • 1
    @SaiManojKumarYadlapati Yes, AS said this has to be the same vom session. Bufwritepost is triggered when vom does the write
    – johannes
    Feb 4, 2015 at 11:01
  • Problems with this: (1) doesn't work with .vim/vimrc, (2) will create duplicate autocmds so each subsequent save will be slower as file will be reloaded multiple times, (3) doesn't behave with vim-tiny which doesn't have autocmd and is still the default on some linux distributions. See my answer to address these issues.
    – Tom Hale
    Aug 6, 2016 at 4:14
" Quickly edit/reload this configuration file
nnoremap gev :e $MYVIMRC<CR>
nnoremap gsv :so $MYVIMRC<CR>

To automatically reload upon save, add the following to your $MYVIMRC:

if has ('autocmd') " Remain compatible with earlier versions
 augroup vimrc     " Source vim configuration upon save
    autocmd! BufWritePost $MYVIMRC source % | echom "Reloaded " . $MYVIMRC | redraw
    autocmd! BufWritePost $MYGVIMRC if has('gui_running') | so % | echom "Reloaded " . $MYGVIMRC | endif | redraw
  augroup END
endif " has autocmd

and then for the last time, type:

:so %

The next time you save your vimrc, it will be automatically reloaded.


  • Tells the user what has happened (also logging to :messages)
  • Handles various names for the configuration files
  • Ensures that it wil only match the actual configuration file (ignores copies in other directories, or a fugitive:// diff)
  • Won't generate an error if using vim-tiny

Of course, the automatic reload will only happen if you edit your vimrc in vim.

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