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I'm using a plugin which can show the minimap for the file I'm editing. The plugin can only works with utf-8, while, my mother tongue is Chinese so I wrote comment in Chinese. Does anyone know how to dynamically/temporarily change the encoding in Vim, so I can make the minimap work by temporarily set the encoding to utf8?

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    I'm a bit confused. Why not just use UTF-8 all the time? – Rich Apr 21 at 16:03
  • Which encoding are you using? You can try to set the locale environment variables to match the file encoding, for example export LANG=zh_CN.big5 or export LANG=zh_CN.gb18030. Also consider filing a GitHub issue to the authors of code-minimap and minimap.vim to properly detect the file encoding from Vim and respect it while generating the minimap. (It might help to give them a small example file they can test it on.) – filbranden Apr 21 at 19:25
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    Not sure whether this fits your definition of "temporary" but you could simply :set fileencoding=utf-8, save the file, and then set it back again when you're done. – Rich Apr 23 at 13:01
  • @Rich: Yes it fits, you might write an answer If you're willing to. I was thinking about whether there is a way to set a fallback option, say that it will first try big5 if it cannot display all text then try utf-8. – job_start Apr 23 at 14:24
  • @job_start Yes, that's possible. The reason I haven't actually gotten around to answering your question is that I was a bit unclear on your actual requirements I'll try writing something now. – Rich Apr 23 at 14:51
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You can change the encoding of a loaded buffer simply by setting 'fileencoding' and then saving the file:

:set fileencoding=utf-8
:w

Hopefully this will allow your plugin to work, and then if necessary you can change the encoding back afterwards using the same method. You could probably also set up a BufUnload or BufDelete autocommand to automatically change the encoding back when you are done with the buffer.

However, note that changing the encoding is not necessarily a reversible operation, and it's possible that changing it to a new encoding and then back again will result in data loss.

You also ask in the comments about setting a fallback option. This is what the 'fileencodings' option (plural, with an s!) is used for. Setting it to e.g.:

:set fileencodings=big5,utf-8

will instruct Vim first to try reading files with big5, and if that fails, try utf-8 next. You can add as many comma separated encodings as you like to the setting; if none of these succeed without error, Vim will use the value of 'encoding' for reading the file.

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