I have vim 8.1 installed. I want to use the help files translated into french. The debian package vimhelp-fr is not maintained any more, the compressed tar is unavailable, so I installed the version 6.3 of the debian package. The files are installed under /usr/share/vim/vim63/doc/ and their extention is .frx

I can't find a way to access them from :help

In /usr/share/vim/vim81/filetype.vim, I can read:

" Vim help file
au BufNewFile,BufRead $VIMRUNTIME/doc/*.txt     setf help

So I tried to add the line

au BufNewFile,BufRead usr/share/vim/vim63/doc/*.frx     setf help

in a file help-fr.vim under ~/vim/ftdetect/, and also directly in filetype.vim.

Then I tried to type

:help help.frx


:help /usr/share/vim/vim63/doc/help.frx

within vim.

No success. How can access the french files using :help to see them like help files?


In very brief summary from :help help-translated, you need to put the files in the doc directory somewhere in 'runtimepath' (I highly suspect /usr/share/vim/vim63 is not on the runtimepath in newer vims). You also probably need to run :helptags to generate the appropriate tags.

You can then:

  • set 'helplang' to your preferred languages (the default is set from the environment, probably using locale)
  • force a language like :help user-manual@fr
  • use <C-]> in non-English help files to try to find tags matching that language first

Note: in this highly-related Q, I discovered that the french help is way out of date, and not actively maintained! If you make improvements, please contribute them back to vim :)

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