When using NERDTree plugin the default behavior is to open a new file and keeping the NERDTree buffer open. What I want to do is to keep this default behavior but also overriding it when I want so the NERDTree buffer will be closed after I opened a file.

I know I can use let NERDTreeQuitOnOpen=1 to automatically close the NERDTree buffer when I open a new file but this option totally overrides the default behavior (which is not what I want).

Ideally I would like to know if there is a built-in feature in NERDTree to do what I want. (I've been searching but didn't find anything like that so I suppose it doesn't exists actually)

And if that doesn't exists I had two ideas:

  • First one is to create a function which would set NERDTreeQuitOnOpen to 1, open the file and then set again NERDTreeQuitOnOpen to 0.

  • Second one is to create the following mapping: map d<CR> <CR> :NERDTree <CR> :bd<CR> which opens the file (first <CR>), goes back to NERDTree buffer (:NERDTree <CR>) and close this buffer (:bd <CR>). I should improve it so the mapping only exists in the NERDTree buffer but I feel that's a pretty ugly solution and I thik it can be improved.

Which idea would be the best and why? Or is there an even better option?

  • 1
    Obligatory article: Oil and vinegar - split windows and the project drawer Jun 1, 2015 at 14:38
  • @Peter: Thanks for your comment, the article is pretty interesting and I'll probably give a try to netrw and the concept of split explorer. I think I understand the advantage of what is explained in the article but the problem is that it doesn't actually solve my problem it just advise to change the tool I use. I'm not against changing my habits but I'd like to solve my problem first and then try a new tool :)
    – statox
    Jun 1, 2015 at 15:09
  • Related, unanswered question on SU: superuser.com/q/821720/334516. Maybe map d<cr> <cr>:NERDTreeClose<cr> for the mapping?
    – muru
    Jun 1, 2015 at 20:36
  • @muru: Thanks you, your mapping works fine and it seems less ugly than mine :) About the question on SU, I'm not sure it is totally related since he wants to open the file in the buffer of NERDTree whereas I want to open it in a new buffer and then close NERDTree buffer: He ends up with a split windows whereas I want to end up with 2 buffers not in a split window.
    – statox
    Jun 2, 2015 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


As the question doesn't seem to generate a lot of answer I'll just answer it with the suggestion of @muru which is what I have used for a week before I switched to the netrw explorer. (Of course if a better option answer comes up I'll gladly unmark mine as accepted and accept the new one)

The idea is to use the folowing mapping:

map d<cr> <cr>:NERDTreeClose<cr>

Which opens the file as it is done usually and then calls the function which close the NERDTree buffer no matter where the cursor is.

EDIT: I recently switched back to NERDTree and reworked my solution: The mapping I suggested before was working but as it existed in every buffer I had to double press d each time I wanted to delete something which is pretty annoying. (Maybe I could have changed the timeout settings but I like the way it is currently set for me, also I didn't want to map it on another key combination).

So I replaced my first solution by the following lines to my .vimrc:

autocmd BufEnter NERD_tree_* nmap  d<CR> <CR> :NERDTreeToggle <CR>
autocmd BufLeave NERD_tree_* unmap d<CR>

This way the mapping is created only in the NERDTree buffers and it doesn't mess with my workflow in the other buffers.

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