21

I know I can browse Vim help with :help, but this opens a split. Sometimes, I just like to study documentation. How read documentation in a "full screen" mode?

29

Just expand the help window to be the only visible window: Ctrlw-o

When you're done you can switch back to your other buffers.

  • 2
    Similarly, you can switch to the other window with Ctrl-w w and close it with Ctrl-w c, leaving you with just the help. – bsmith89 Feb 4 '15 at 23:47
  • Picking highest voted answer. – Ruslan Osipov Feb 5 '15 at 0:06
15

Alternatively, you could open the help window in a new tab: :tab help foo, and then use :q to close it.

  • 2
    Is there also a way to do this by default? So that :help foo would act as :tab help foo? – Martin Tournoij Feb 6 '15 at 14:44
  • 2
    @Carpetsmoker Yes, you could do something like cnoremap help tab help. – Doorknob Feb 6 '15 at 14:45
9

The other answers have already answered your question, but for the sake of completeness:

If you just want to temporarily get a larger window for your help-viewing, you can use either or both of the Ctrl-w _ and Ctrl-w | mappings to maximise the help window as much as possible vertically or horizontally, respectively, but without closing your existing split windows.

When you subsequently close the help window with Ctrl-w c or :q, your window layout will be returned to exactly how it was before you opened the help window.

This is useful if you have a slightly more complicated window layout which you would like to preserve.

5

You can make the help window full width and height by eliminating all other split windows, using Control-wo while inside the help window. This command makes the current window the only window, removing all other windows.

2

Another option that gets rid of the pesky extra "new file" tab is vim +"tab help | -tabc". This creates a help tab on vim start (tab help) and removes the new file (-tabc).

1

You can move the help screen to its own tab with

ctrl+w T (note the T is upper case).

Then you can switch between the tabs with gt.

1

I often open a new vim instance in another workspace/screen just to pop open a help window so this article was enormously helpful to me. Here Is a bit of VimScript that I just wrote that will open a help page in a new tab, and automatically close a new/empty buffer if necessary. Hopefully it is useful to folks in the future. Thank y'all for your help!

" Help: Open a `help` page in a new tab, or replace the current buffer if it
" is unnamed and empty.
function! Help( query )
  " Is the current buffer empty?
  let l:empty = line( '$' ) ==# 1 && getline( 1 ) ==# ''
  " Store the current tab number so we can close it later if need be.
  let l:tabnr = tabpagenr()
  let l:bufname = bufname( winbufnr( 0 ) )
  try
    " Open the help page in a new tab. (or bail if it's not found)
    execute "tab help " . a:query
    " The help page opened successfully. Close the original tab if it's empty.
    if l:bufname ==# '' && l:empty
      execute "tabclose " . l:tabnr
    endif
  endtry
endfunction

command! -nargs=1 Help call Help( <f-args> )
0

I wrote a tiny plugin to do this a few years ago: vim-helptab. It opens help docs in their own tab when you type :h .... To bypass it you can do :he ... or :help ....

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