I would like Vim to remember both the cursor position and the lines displayed, for example, in the screenshot


line 26 to line 46 are shown, and cursor is at line 44. If I exit as it is now, is it possible to restore this exact display the next I open it (showing lines 26 to 46, with cursor at line 44)?

Of course we assume the window size does not change.

Thanks in advance!

  • Saving cursor position is easy. You might need to save the session to do the other part. Something like this, vim /some/dir/foo.txt ...do stuff... :mks sess.vim, :wq.... later... vim -S /some/dir/sess.vim
    – B Layer
    Jan 17, 2021 at 2:18
  • 1
    The question is not exactly the same but this answer vi.stackexchange.com/a/5626/11054 has most of the information you'd need about sessions. That includes a mention of the plugin "obsession.vim" which reduces some of session use friction. I believe "winpos" is the key 'sessionoptions' value you need to restore the line positioning.
    – B Layer
    Jan 17, 2021 at 2:31
  • 1
    There's no accepted answer for that question so it can't be used as a dupe of this (if that were even a good idea). So I went ahead and answered here.
    – B Layer
    Jan 17, 2021 at 3:07

1 Answer 1


For the cursor position, the answer can be found in $VIMRUNTIME/defaults.vim:

" When editing a file, always jump to the last known cursor position.
autocmd BufReadPost *
  \ if line("'\"") >= 1 && line("'\"") <= line("$") && &ft !~# 'commit'
  \ |   exe "normal! g`\""
  \ | endif

This uses the special mark " (see :h `quote) which indicates the position of the cursor when the buffer was last exited. The auto command runs upon opening any buffer and verifies that the marked position falls within the buffer's existing lines. If so it'll jump to that position using the command g`{mark} (see :h g') which jumps to a mark without changing the jumplist.

To restore the vertical position of the cursor line, though, I think you'll need to save your session each time you exit Vim. :mksession (alias :mks) is the command to do this. A variety of settings will be saved in the file you specify. You can control what exactly those are by changing the value of 'sessionoptions' (alias 'ssop'). In your case I believe you only need to have "winpos" included.

The basic workflow would be something like this...

vim /some/dir/foo.txt
...do work...
:mks! foosess.vim

..later, when you want to edit the file again....
vim -S /some/dir/foosess.vim

Yeah, that's not what one would call convenient if you want to do this for all your files. You might want to take a look at Tim Pope's plugin obsession.vim. It reduces some of the friction involved. Here's an excerpt from the front page...

  • Instead of making me remember to capture the session immediately before exiting Vim, allow me to do it at any time, and automatically re-invoke :mksession immediately before exit.
  • Also invoke :mksession whenever the layout changes (in particular, on BufEnter), so that even if Vim exits abnormally, I'm good to go.
  • If I load an existing session, automatically keep it updated as above.
  • If I try to create a new session on top of an existing session, don't refuse to overwrite it. Just do what I mean.
  • If I pass in a directory rather than a file name, just create a Session.vim inside of it.
  • Don't capture options and maps. Options are sometimes mutilated and maps just interfere with updating plugins.

Even then it's sort of a lot for just restoring vertical positioning. At least the cursor's location can be restored... :)

  • 2
    Thank you so much, I did not think that this could be complicated in Vim, but I will try the plugin!
    – zyy
    Jan 17, 2021 at 3:44
  • 1
    Good luck. Let us know if you have any further questions.
    – B Layer
    Jan 17, 2021 at 4:16

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