My project has these files:

$ find . -type f -and -name 'peop*'

As I got tired of typing :e app/assets/stylesheets/admin/sections/people.css.sass, I thought that ctrlp might be a good way to save some typing. However, I can't get it to match files in what I consider to be a sane way.

First, I use <C-p> and type peop, and that gives me these results ("first" match is at the bottom):

> app/models/attribute_group.rb
> app/models/contract_template.rb
> app/policies/contract_policy.rb
> app/uploaders/photo_uploader.rb
> app/policies/invoice_policy.rb
> app/views/layouts/pdf.pdf.haml
> app/uploaders/logo_uploader.rb
> app/models/property_object.rb
> app/policies/person_policy.rb
> app/policies/photo_policy.rb    
>>> peop_

These results are horrible. Neither files with peop in them are there. Even when I expand it to people:

> app/policies/contract_template_policy.rb
> app/models/concerns/exportable.rb
> app/models/contract_template.rb
> app/uploaders/photo_uploader.rb
> app/uploaders/logo_uploader.rb
> app/views/admin/people/_show.html.haml
> app/views/admin/people/_form.html.haml
> app/views/admin/people/show.html.haml
> app/views/admin/people/edit.html.haml
> app/views/admin/people/new.html.haml 
>>> people_

It doesn't list either of them (!)

I went through :help ctrlp-options, and found a single option that improves things somewhat:

Set this to 1 to set searching by filename (as opposed to full path) as the
  let g:ctrlp_by_filename = 0

Can be toggled on/off by pressing <c-d> inside the prompt.

After setting this, I get the following results on peop:

> app/controllers/admin/organisation_people_controller.rb
> app/assets/stylesheets/admin/sections/people.css.sass
> doc/formulieren/opdrachtverlening-woningbeheer.pdf
> doc/formulieren/hulptabellen-object-unit-soort.pdf
> doc/formulieren/brandpreventievoorjongeren.pdf
> app/policies/organisation_person_policy.rb
> doc/prototype-admin/prototype/inspectiemodule_apparaten.html
> app/policies/property_object_policy.rb
> app/policies/person_policy.rb
> app/controllers/admin/people_controller.rb
>d> peop_

Okay, so this is slightly better, I get at least one of the expected files at the first result, and the other one as the 9th. It still conciders hulptabellen-object-unit-soort.pdf to be a better match than people.css.sass though (!)

Typing people finally gives me the 2 expected files as the first 2:

> app/controllers/admin/organisation_people_controller.rb
> app/assets/stylesheets/admin/sections/people.css.sass
> app/controllers/admin/people_controller.rb
>>> people_

How can I make this matching better? I don't mind "fuzzy matching", but it should not be so fuzzy it matches everything and everyone... In this case, I would expect typing <c-P>peop to have app/assets/stylesheets/admin/sections/people.css.sass as either the 1st or 2nd match.


2 Answers 2


A similar question was just asked on the Vim reddit here. I started using ctrlp-cmatcher myself quite awhile ago which I find to be much more intelligent at matching the right file. Note that it does require a compiled component. Otherwise you'll have to try some of the approaches in the article.


CtrlP has a few different modes, Ctrl-R and Ctrl-D. Ctrl-R uses your input as raw Regex, meaning you'll only find matches with people in it explicitly. Ctrl-D matches only the filename, ignoring the path.

I believe the default CtrlP functionality is just joining .* to every character as a raw character, so a period is treated as a period. If you knew in advance the file was at least 2 directories deep, you could do //people.

  • is there a way to configure it to open immediately in the Ctrl-R mode by default?
    – xealits
    Commented May 3 at 21:30
  • I believe it should remember the last mode you were in by default Commented May 6 at 1:54
  • 1
    yeah, thanks! I also found the default setting in :help ctrlp-options i.e. let g:ctrlp_regexp = 1 sets the regexp mode on by default.
    – xealits
    Commented May 7 at 5:36

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