I'm trying to find where the help function/command is defined.
So far I tried:

:verbose function help

but since the h isn't in uppercase, it doesn't work (not sure if it's even a function at this point...)


:verbose command help

This reports that it's not user-defined, though it's obvious since it's in the default Vim.

Last, I tried going into the /usr/share/vim/ directory, and running a mass grep script to search for any string/and or file that have function! help, help etc.

I looked into the Vim manual but I am not sure I found anything so far. Any (no pun intended) help would be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


The :help command, just like every other built-in commands, is defined in the C code that is compiled into the Vim binary.

You can find in src/ex_cmds.c in the Vim source code.

(Note also that user-defined commands are only allowed to start with an uppercase, precisely to separate them from built-in commands. Also, functions and commands are completely separate namespaces, a function needs to be evaluated with :call or as part as an expression, while a command is directly invoked after the : that puts you in Ex mode.)

  • is there a command or function to know where one is located/defined? (for other things beside help). Since I'm assuming that not every builtin are in the C code, though that would help in that case too. Sep 8, 2020 at 3:42
  • 1
    Yes, every built-in command and function in Vim is defined in C code.
    – filbranden
    Sep 8, 2020 at 3:54

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