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As title. Sorry for being possibly a very simple question but could anyone rephrase the answer so it can be easily understood by a beginner?

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2 Answers 2

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You are using two different commands, :e and :n, that are thoroughly documented.

:help :edit_f says:

:e[dit] [++opt] [+cmd] {file}
                        Edit {file}.
                        This fails when changes have been made to the current
                        buffer, unless 'hidden' is set or 'autowriteall' is
                        set and the file can be written.
                        Also see |++opt| and |+cmd|.

while :help :next_f says:

Same as |:args_f|.

and :help :args_f says:

:ar[gs] [++opt] [+cmd] {arglist}            *:args_f*
                        Define {arglist} as the new argument list and edit
                        the first one.  This fails when changes have been made
                        and Vim does not want to |abandon| the current buffer.
                        Also see |++opt| and |+cmd|.

So…

  • :e filename edits filename,
  • :n filename sets the argument list to filename and edit filename.

If, in fine, both commands give you a filename buffer to edit, they have different side-effects. If you are confident those side-effects are irrelevant to you, then you can use them interchangeably. If not, use the command that does exactly what you want.

FWIW, the basics are introduced in chapter 7 of the user manual: :help usr_07.

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  • Thank you for the detailed answer! I didn't know that : can still be appended after :h, now I learned it. Commented Mar 13, 2023 at 20:13
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In this case (just a single filename folliwing :e and :n) they're basically identical.

You can see the definitive builtin help :h edit_f and :h next_f (just few lines below :h :e and :h :n). Use Ctrl-] to jump between helps, and Ctrl-O to jump back.

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