I'd like to combine two events: FileType and TextChangedI. According to this awesome book I can do that, by adding a comma between both events like this:

:autocmd BufWritePre,BufRead *.html :normal gg=G

But if I try that with FileType and TextChangedI like that:

autocmd TextChangedI,FileType c echom "Test"

then I don't get any output if I change something in a c file. How can I achieve that?

  • 1
    TextChangedI matches against the filename, and FileType against the filetype, you can't really combine those two. <buffer> is a special pattern which matches against the current buffer. Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 20:49
  • oh ok. Thank you for the information! Do you have an idea for a workaround for this "combination"? One idea would be that the user has to provide something like a whitelist and the plugin iterates everytime through that list, but it might has a pretty bad performance...
    – TornaxO7
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 21:04
  • I would just define two autocmds and put the actual code in a function. Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 21:26
  • We do prefer multiple questions to be split up; I’ve been personally lenient with this when the questions are intricately connected (splitting is not always easy!), but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. I believe your questions are (1) why doesn’t this combined autocommand work (and how do i fix it), and (2) what’s this <buffer> stuff? I’ve removed the second question. You should feel free to post it separately!
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jan 23, 2021 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


As Martin mentions in the comments, the two events match on different things. It would be simpler to make a function and use two autocommands (the combined form works best when both match on the same types of things):

function DoIt() abort

augroup my_c_stuff
  autocmd FileType c call DoIt()
  autocmd TextChangedI *.c call DoIt()
augroup END

An even better solution would be to put the function, call, and text-changed autocommand into an ftplugin:

" ~/.vim/after/ftplugin/c.vim
function DoIt() abort

call DoIt()

augroup my_c_stuff
  autocmd! * <buffer>
  autocmd TextChangedI <buffer> call DoIt<()
augroup END
" don’t forget b:undo_ftplugin!
  • What do you mean with " don’t forget b:undo_ftplugin!?
    – TornaxO7
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 14:19
  • @TornaxO7 see the help on the subject. It’s a variable containing a string of code that runs to “destruct” all the filetype-specific code when a buffer’s filetype changes. If you change filetypes, you don’t want the old stuff lingering around!
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jan 28, 2021 at 15:58
  • @D.BenKnoble Would be nice if you could explain the code. Commented Nov 22, 2023 at 9:51

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