Is it possible to press tab or some other operator to view the available files in a given directory path? For example:

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For example, in the unix shell I can do something like [tab] to get:

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After trial-and-erring a bit, it seems like :e is the command I want to use instead of :o ? Is :e basically like "open with tab-complete" ?

  • 1
    :h 'wildmenu' Jul 15, 2020 at 21:38
  • I think you're looking for <c-d>. Indeed, it does not work with :o, you'll need :e.
    – Biggybi
    Jul 17, 2020 at 7:29

1 Answer 1


Open mode (from the :open command) is a bit of a legacy command:

                            *:o* *:op* *:open*
:[range]o[pen]          Works like |:visual|: end Ex mode.
                {Vi: start editing in open mode}

:[range]o[pen] /pattern/    As above, additionally move the cursor to the
                column where "pattern" matches in the cursor

Vim does not support open mode, since it's not really useful.  For those
situations where ":open" would start open mode Vim will leave Ex mode, which
allows executing the same commands, but updates the whole screen instead of
only one line.

You want to use :edit instead to, well, edit a file. By default, you should be able to use :help cmdline-completion, including tab, to complete filenames. This works for :split, :vsplit , and :tabedit, too, as these are the standard "edit a file" commands.

  • Having said that, :tag-related commands and :find- or 'path'-related commands make my file-navigation much faster; rather than tab-completing to find what I want, I just jump directly to it
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Jul 15, 2020 at 21:42

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