I want a clock display in Vim. My statusline is pretty full, so I want to use the tabline. I use taboo.vim to control my tabline, and I replaced the useless X "button" with a clock display using the following line in my .vimrc:

" Put a clock in the top-right corner of the tabline
let g:taboo_close_tabs_label = "%{strftime('%a\ %e\ %b\ %I:%M:%S\ %p')}"

This creates a nice clock in the top-right corner:

Clock on tabline in Vim

The tabline updates when switching buffers, inserting text, etc. However, I want the clock to update every second. The closest I have come is with this:

" Update the clock whenever possible
autocmd CursorHold,CursorHoldI * silent redrawtabline

in conjunction with this (which I use for other purposes too):

set updatetime=100

Those two together cause the tabline to get redrawn every time I move the cursor (in addition to all the normal update times). But it's still not perfect because the clock still doesn't update when I'm not doing anything.

Is there a way to get my clock display to update every second (or every minute)?

1 Answer 1


You can use a timer, which you set up with timer_start(), in order to run a callback that will invoke redrawtabline for you every second.

In your specific situation:

function! RedrawTabline(timerID)
  silent redrawtabline
call timer_start(1000, 'RedrawTabline', {'repeat': -1})

Using {'repeat': -1} will make this timer repeat every second, forever.

You can store the result of the timer_start() call with the timer ID into a variable, if you intend to eventually call timer_stop() on it.

  • 2
    For the most part though, I wouldn't recommend adding a clock to your status or tab line in Vim, redrawing can be an expensive operation and Vim is not very well suitable to perform this kind of action.
    – filbranden
    Aug 5 at 18:31
  • 1
    I'm glad you clarified this is actually not a good idea.
    – r_31415
    Aug 5 at 20:31
  • 1
    Thank you for the solution and the warning. When I wrote it how you did, I got Undefined function: RedrawTabline when opening vim. So I tried changing the definition to function! RedrawTabline(), But then I got the message "E118: Too many arguments for function: RedrawTabline" every second. Finally, I tried defining it like function! RedrawTabline(timerID) to consume the first argument and that worked.
    – nullromo
    Aug 5 at 22:35
  • 1
    @nullromo Sorry for the oversight and thanks for the edit! Glad this was helpful!
    – filbranden
    Aug 5 at 22:53
  • 2
    @nullromo function! should not be necessary. I define most functions as function F(…) abort. The ! is only needed for redefinitions.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Aug 6 at 16:47

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