While using gVim on my Windows 10 machine at work, I discovered and started using the amazing spell checker when writing markdown. In gVim, misspelled words are underlined with the red squiggly everyone is familiar with.

At home on my Ubuntu machine, I realized the red squiggly only works in gVim, not in my terminal. I looked through the help files and it sounds like highlighting is the default way vim points out spelling errors. Yet, none of my misspelled words are highlighted. This is a problem for me because although I have gVim installed on this machine, a prefer to use vim in the terminal.

I have tried starting vim without my config file and the spell check does work (it highlights bad words). When I start vim with my config, it does not highlight words, even when I enter :set spell.

vim version: 8.0
vim plugins: surround.vim,solarized.vim
terminal: Xfce Terminal
current contents of vimrc


Spell-check highlighting works when I comment-out colorscheme solarized in my vimrc. So the problem is probably with that color plugin. I still have no idea how to fix it though.

  • 1
    What does :set spellfile? show? When you're in a file with spelling mistakes does ]s move the cursor?
    – B Layer
    May 16, 2020 at 14:19
  • @BLayer :set spellfile? is empty. However ]s does move the cursor to misspelled words. I find and correct misspellings although they are not highlighted. I think the problem must be with solarized.vim, since when I disable it, the highlighting works. But how to fix that color plugin, I have no idea... May 16, 2020 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


After reading more of the solarized documentation, it's now clear that I should not be using solarized.vim with this terminal emulator. Instead, I should use the emulator's settings to change its color scheme to solarized, and leave vim alone. Now I am only using solarized.vim with gVim and spell checking is working correctly in both versions.

  • If this solved your problem, you can accept the answer.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Jun 10, 2021 at 18:04

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