I am trying to get started with VimTeX. I am reading through a guide (https://www.ejmastnak.com/tutorials/vim-latex/vimtex.html) and using vim-plug to manage plugins. I am very new to Vim generally, and so I was wondering what the purpose is of there being ftplugin directories associated with each plugin.

Is it still necessary to create a new ~/.vim/ftplugin/ directory? Should I do anything with the other ftplugin directories that get created once a plugin is installed (i.e., ~/.vim/plugged/vimtex/ftplugin/)?

Sorry if these questions are dumb!

1 Answer 1



At the beginning there were only one ftplugin folder and siblings (e.g. ftdetect). All the plugins were sharing these folders.

The consequences were that:

  • Plugins installation lead to conflicts (writing the same files in the same folders)
  • Uninstalling the plugins were complex

Later some plugin authors introduced a way to install their plugin in their own structure (manipulating runtimepath). The idea have been taken by plugin managers like Vundle, Vim-Plug and became the standard way to deploy plugins.


You don't have to create ~/.vim/ftplugin/.

You shouldn't touch the plugin folder (i.e. the subfolders of ~/.vim/plugged/) unless you want to uninstall the plugin (delete the corresponding folder).

If you play with plugin I advice you to install a plugin manager like vim-plug

  • 2
    "Vim 8 introduced the possibility for the plugin to have their own structure." --- No, this possibility was always there and was taken advantage of by different people in different ways. I believe tpope was one of the first to popularize the idea of manipulating the runtimepath with vim-pathogen. Later came vim-plug and other plugin managers, and even later the new package feature was added to Vim. Oct 25 at 6:09
  • Thanks for your comment I'll adapt my answer accordingly. Oct 25 at 6:15
  • Thank you for the information. Just to be clear, is there any reason to add an ftplugin directory manually to ~/.vim/? Also, is there any reason to mess with files like tex.vim in the VimTeX plugin?
    – monty_m
    Oct 25 at 15:53
  • There are no reason to mess with tex.vim unless you want to contribution to the plugin. Oct 25 at 16:51
  • The ftplugin folder may be used to amend filetypes configuration that comes with Vim Oct 25 at 16:52

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