For a long time now I've been using Vundle to manage my vim plugins. As best I can make out this basically just organizes plugins in an isolated directory structure and keeps track of updating them against source URLs where normally the plugin would be manually arranged side by side in the plugins directory.

I've run across several references to using the same plugins under multiple plugin managers. NeoBundle for example seems to use the same plugins. However there seem to be a number of other plugin managers out there. Are all of these compatible in the sense that they all use the same source files or do the plugins have to be specially prepared in order to be compatible with each manager? Asked another way, Which other plugin managers are interchangeable enough that they would handle my current Vundle plugins and/or what plugin formats can I assume are Vundle manageable even if they advertise under a different manager?

2 Answers 2


For a plugin to be Pathogen/Vundle/NeoBundle/Plug/VAM-compatible, it needs to follow the standard structure expected by Vim in your ~/.vim/ directory:


~/.vim/autoload/...          ~/.vim/bundle/pluginname/autoload/...
      /doc/...                                       /doc/...
      /ftplugin/...                                  /ftplugin/...
      /indent/...                                    /indent/...
      /plugin/...                                    /plugin/...
      /syntax/...                                    /syntax/...
      /...                                           /...

If you can recognize that structure (the structure, not that exact list of subdirs) in the plugin's repository or zip file, the plugin is Pathogen/Vundle/NeoBundle/Plug/VAM-compatible.


I probably don't know all plugin managers, but most (including vundle), if not all, build on the plugin system that tpope invented with pathogen. This plugin system basically recreates the folder structure you have in ~/.vim.

To make it short. They should be interchangeable.

  • 2
    I think this is accurate as far as it goes bot it needs to go farther to be really useful. There are at least two things that need to noted: self contained and self extracting (vimroll?) plugins and plugin managers that handle plugin dependencies and require a meta data format.
    – Caleb
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 11:37
  • 1
    @Caleb I think you're thinking of "vimball".
    – Rich
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 11:23
  • @Rich Yup that was what I was thinking of. Not sure why I couldn't come up with the name then.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 11:32

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