Is it possible to rename the file I'm editing from within Vim? Currently what I do is exit Vim, rename the file and open from Vim again.


You could save the file under a different name using :w newname. But this operation won't remove the old file and the 'old' file stays in your buffer, so any changes will be applied to your 'old' file.

:saveas saves your new file and opens it in a new buffer. But it doesn't delete the old file.

I use tpope/vim-eunuch to :Move files.

:Move: Rename a buffer and the file on disk simultaneously.

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  • One downside of :w or :saveas is that it will lose the execute permission if you were editing a script. netrw Rename will keep the permissions. – wisbucky Sep 12 '19 at 23:01
  • Is :Move effetively the same as :!mv {src} {dest}, and then running :e {src}, where {src} is the name of the old buffer which consequently is destroyed seeing as you will get `E211: File {src} no longer available, and where {dest} is the name of the new buffer? – Nicholas Cousar Aug 29 at 16:38

You could drop to Netrw and rename the file there.

If the file you're editing is in the current directory, then do:

:edit .

Navigate to the file, press R, and change the name. Press Enter to edit the file.

There's a caveat though: the original buffer remains in the list of buffers. If you switch to it, it's empty.

If the file you're editing is in a different directory, you can change to the file's directory with:

:cd %:p:h

If you don't want to change the directory for the entire Vim session but only for the current buffer, then you can do instead:

:lcd %:p:h
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  • 3
    Typing straight :edit %:p:h also seems to work. – Mladen Jablanović Feb 11 '16 at 8:13
  • :E will also open netrw – wisbucky Sep 12 '19 at 22:52
  • I use :ex<tab> which expands to :Explore. – Robert Jul 10 at 16:21

I've been using the Rename2 plugin for this for years. It renames both the current buffer, and the file on disk:

:Rename {newname}

EDIT: I found this a .vimrc file on github:

function! RenameFile()
    let old_name = expand('%')
    let new_name = input('New file name: ', expand('%'), 'file')
    if new_name != '' && new_name != old_name
        exec ':saveas ' . new_name
        exec ':silent !rm ' . old_name
map <leader>n :call RenameFile()<cr>
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  • If those who use this snippet need to delete the buffer with the old file, you can add exec ':bd ' . old_file after the silent !rm … line – user907860 Jul 6 at 0:19

The best way is to use :Move, as OrangTux said. For completeness, you can also perform terminal commands in vi editors using a bang (!) in command mode.

:!mv {current_file} {new_name}
:e {new_name}

However, this method doesn't remove the old buffer from your buffer list.

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You can just shell command from vim. A bit dirty since the old buffer is still in place but with NerdTree plugin it's good enough for me:

!mv <current path> <new path>
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