In gVim, I want to open a file that starts with an exclamationmark, say, for example, !this_is_my_file_whose_name_is_rather_long.txt.

So, I type :e !this followed by pressing the tabulator.

gVim expands the filename, but also prepends it with a backslash, so that the command line reads

:e \!this_is_my_file_whose_name_is_rather_long.txt

When I now press enter, thinking this will open my desired file, gVim will instead create a new buffer whose name also has the backslash.

This is of course not what I want. So after pressing the tabulator, I move the cursor to the backslash and delete it. Then, gVim will open the file that I want.

I assume that behaviour is ms-Windows related. Currently, I cannot go to a Unix machine to verify if I'd encounter this problem on Unix as well.

So, is there a way to turn this behaviour off?

  • 6
    FYI: I can't reproduce this problem on my Linux machine. Commented Mar 28, 2015 at 18:29
  • I cannot reproduce this problem on my Mac either. Looks like you might have found a bug.
    – akshay
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 7:08
  • I just reproduced this with GVim 7.4 on Windows. If the backslash is not deleted a new buffer is created. An error is issued 'E303: Unable to open swap file for "\!file.txt", recovery impossible.' This must be because \ is ilegal in Windows filenames. Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 18:37
  • @GonçaloRibeiro: yes, this is what I have observed and why I have posted my question. But I want to use the tabulator so that vim opens the right (and existing) file without backslash. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 9:17
  • @RenéNyffenegger, yes, I understand. Unfortunately I am not aware of an option that can solve this. This could possibly be considered a bug. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


Since this issue was found to be a bug in the combination of your Windows version and version 7.4 of gvim (the latest as of 08/2015), the only answers are:

  • Wait until a newer version of vim for your Windows version. (7.3 came out 2010, 7.4 in 2013, so perhaps even this year)
  • Don't use the Windows version of gvim on your Windows version. You did not mention , if you tried different variants (vim native/cygwin, a "portable version"). So you could try those, or the recent vim fork neovim.
  • Use a different Windows Version. User mguiffrida found 8.1 to be unaffected. Perhaps the "fix" carried over into Windows 10 as well.

I realize, this is not the answer you wanted to hear, but -for now- this seems like the only answer.

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