I am new to vim, I watched this video and wish to give it a good try for a month to see how I like it.

I want to add the NERDTree plugin to my vim, I'm actually using NeoVIM:

NVIM v0.4.4
Build type: Release
LuaJIT 2.0.5

I Googled and found this article. It seemed straightforward but when I followed the steps, it doesn't seem to work for me, so I guess I'm missing something.

~|⇒ ls ~/.vim/pack/vendor/start   
~|⇒ ls -l ~/.vim/pack/vendor/start/nerdtree
total 164
drwxr-xr-x 3 jwan jwan  4096 Feb 21 11:29 autoload
-rw-r--r-- 1 jwan jwan 30828 Feb 21 11:29 CHANGELOG.md
-rw-r--r-- 1 jwan jwan    26 Feb 21 11:29 _config.yml
drwxr-xr-x 2 jwan jwan  4096 Feb 21 11:29 doc
drwxr-xr-x 3 jwan jwan  4096 Feb 21 11:29 lib
-rw-r--r-- 1 jwan jwan   474 Feb 21 11:29 LICENCE
drwxr-xr-x 2 jwan jwan  4096 Feb 21 11:29 nerdtree_plugin
drwxr-xr-x 2 jwan jwan  4096 Feb 21 11:29 plugin
-rw-r--r-- 1 jwan jwan  8429 Feb 21 11:29 README.markdown
-rw-r--r-- 1 jwan jwan 87896 Feb 21 11:29 screenshot.png
drwxr-xr-x 2 jwan jwan  4096 Feb 21 11:29 syntax

According to the article, that should be all that I have to do! The article says:

Now you can place Vim plugins in ~/.vim/pack/vendor/start, and they'll automatically load when you launch Vim.

That doesn't seem to happen for me! When I have vim open and I type :NERDTree I just get:

E492: Not an editor command: NERDTree

What am I missing?

  • 1
    If not duplicates, at least related questions How do I install a plugin in Vim/vi? and What is the Vim8 package feature and how should I use it?. FWIW I created the same file hierarchy and cloned github.com/preservim/nerdtree in start and :NERDTree is available, maybe check :messages for any error message.
    – statox
    Feb 22, 2021 at 10:37
  • Thanks @statox, indeed, both are related. I read them before asking my question, sadly I was none the wiser. The first question is mostly about plugin managers. The second one is what I'm after but after following the steps I can't get it to work, I'm not sure what I'm missing.
    – J86
    Feb 22, 2021 at 10:38
  • 1
    Have you tried with an orginal vim8 instance rather and neovim? And as I said in my edit in my previous comment, maybe check for error messages in :messages, also check if :scriptnames mentions NERDTree
    – statox
    Feb 22, 2021 at 10:39
  • 1
    See :help standard-path. Also :help vim-differences.
    – Matt
    Feb 22, 2021 at 11:09
  • 1
    Welcome to Vi and Vim!
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Feb 22, 2021 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


I couldn't deal with the hassle. So I just installed neovim and installed standalone vim. I figured most online articles and documentation will refer to standalone vim too.

Things worked straight away.

enter image description here


I would just stick to pathogen until you get familiarized with how things work. I started moving things to the 'pack/yourname/start' one day and things started breaking. That being said I am working on a plugin and 'pack/myname/start' seems to work fine. Pack is a great way to separate your plugins. If you notice tpope plugins usually go in there.

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