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I want to open a file invisibly such that I can operate using normal (programmatic) commands on it. How can it be achieved? Preferably, it should be hidden from the beginning.

Thanks

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    You can load a file into a hidden buffer, but you cannot apply Normal or Ex commands to it (until it's finally shown in any window). So your question as it stands is invalid. – Matt Jun 29 at 6:13
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    For any interaction with a buffer, it needs to be loaded and displayed in a window. So please mention what your actual goal is that you are trying to achieve. – Christian Brabandt Jun 29 at 9:15
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If you are in a running vim instance and you need to add a new file you can use the argadd command (documented at :h :argadd).

For example if I start vim with vim foo and use :argadd bar. I can then use argdo [mycommand to apply a command on all the files in the argument list.

For more details on the argument list see :h arglist.

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