When I open a file of a given filetype I want it to split into two windows with the cursor in the bottom window. I can get this to work when opening the file from an existing vim session. But when I open the file in vim from the command line the cursor always starts in the top window.

I made a simple file, split.vim, to demonstrate what is happening (in my real case I use autocmd FileType but this simpler case also reproduces it:

botright split

If I open vim with vim -u split.vim it splits as expected, but the cursor is in the top window.

However, if vim is already running and I do :source split.vim it does the same split, but the cursor is in the bottom window.

How can I get vim to split with the cursor in the bottom window, even when first opening vim?

I've also tried adding wincmd j after making the split, but the result is the same.

Again, my actual use case uses autocmd for a given filetype, but the above is easier to test with no vimrc. The autocmd case has the same results. If I open a file when opening vim the cursor remains in the top window. But if I open a file of the specified filetype the cursor jumps to the bottom window.

  • what about vim -c "botright split"?
    – Maxim Kim
    Aug 6, 2021 at 18:49
  • 2
    if I add to my vimrc au VimEnter * botright split then when I start vim I get 2 split wins and cursor is on the bottom one.
    – Maxim Kim
    Aug 6, 2021 at 18:54
  • I'm actually doing this for a specific filetype, whether opened from the command line, or in an existing session (edited to call that out earlier). Though maybe I could set a flag that au VimEnter checks before doing the split...
    – Rob Mosher
    Aug 6, 2021 at 19:58
  • 2
    Most autocommands allow you to specify the (extension of the) file type to which they apply so ... autocmd VimEnter *.py botright split ... for python files, for example.
    – B Layer
    Aug 6, 2021 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


With help from the commenters I came up with the following solution.

au FileType tsv botright split   " split in any case a .tsv is opened
au VimEnter *.tsv wincmd j       " workaround to move window if opened from cli

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