I am new to vim and Linux in general.

I am using Vim on Windows Subsystem for Linux with ubuntu as OS.

I really like this neodark.vim theme and wish to use it for my Vim editor.

I would like to know the steps I should follow to make it work?

Do I need to clone the repository?

Where do I place it?

Where should my .vimrc file be? Can it be in home directory?

What should I add to my .vimrc file to get this theme working?


2 Answers 2


Let's start at the bottom.

Yes, you should write your own vimrc. Vim users love doing so. Regular people wash their cars on a Sunday afternoon, vim users fine-tune their vimrcs instead.

Your vimrc should positively be in your home directory, either as ~/.vimrc or ~/.vim/vimrc. The latter has the advantage that all files related to vim can go in ~/.vim. Read :h vimrc or this nice write up.

The installation instructions of neodark (you did read those, didn't you?) assume you use vim-plug, a plugin manager.

You can use vim with or without a plugin manager. At the time of this writing, vim has decent built in support for plugins. If you want to install a lot of random stuff from github, a plugin manager is the easiest way to do so.

As neodark suggests vim-plug, I'll continue with it.

Go to vim-plug and follow the download instructions for your system. Vim-plug will take care of downloading the needed files from github and putting them where vim will find them. So no need for typing in git clone whatever.

Afterwards, you'll have to add the following lines (taken from neodark's installation instructions) to your vimrc

Plug 'KeitaNakamura/neodark.vim' " vim-plug
set termguicolors                " recommended
colorscheme neodark

Finally source (re-load) vimrc and install the plugin:

:so %

One last word of advice: I would encourage anyone new to vim to first learn the basics and not install any plugins. Vim is incredibly powerful on its own. Once you feel comfortable with vim, you may proceed to explore plugins. However, this is just my personal opinion and you specifically asked about neodark. Going with its recommended installation is easiest.

  • Hey, thanks this was helpful. But I am having difficulty in accessing other functionalities such as lightline/airline. Here is my .vimrc. I am not able to get the lightline show up. How to fix this?
    – Atharva
    Mar 31 at 9:18
  • It still looks like this
    – Atharva
    Mar 31 at 9:27
  • Glad you found my answer helpful. Unfortunately, I have no experience with airline myself but a lot of people on this site have. Please post a new question with the relevant lines of your .vimrc and how it looks right now. Comments aren't the right place for follow-up questions. Post and someone will help.
    – Friedrich
    Mar 31 at 9:32
  • 1
    One nit: i prefer ~/.vim/vimrc to have a single .vim directory with all my scripts. This is supported natively.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Mar 31 at 12:21
  • @D.BenKnoble me too and I've been using .vim dir for years. Funny I didn't notice. Edited.
    – Friedrich
    Mar 31 at 12:34

You have two ways:

  1. Install the colorization as a plugin with a plugin manager
  2. Install the colorization as a plugin without a plugin manager
  3. Install the colorization as a colorization

As a plugin with plugin manager

  1. Install a Plugin Manager (like vim-plug)
  2. Add Plug 'KeitaNakamura/neodark.vim' to your ~/.vimrc (if you selected vim-plug)
  3. Add colorscheme neodark to your ~/.vimrc
  4. Restart Vim
  5. Run :PlugInstall
  6. Restart Vim


call plug#begin()
Plug 'KeitaNakamura/neodark.vim'
call plug#end()
colorscheme neodark

As a plugin

  1. Clone the repository into ~/.vim/pack/dist/start (if the folder do not exist you can create it)
  2. Add colorscheme neodark to your ~/.vimrc
  3. Restart Vim


colorscheme neodark

As a Colorization

  1. Clone the repository of neodark git clone https://github.com/KeitaNakamura/neodark.vim.git
  2. Copy neodark.vim/colors/neodark.vim into ~/.vim/colors
  3. Add colorscheme neodark to your ~/.vimrc
  4. Restart Vim


colorscheme neodark

Remark: .vimrc must be in the root of your home directory ~/.vimrc or within the ~/.vim folder (i.e. ~/.vim/.vimrc)

  • 2
    See my nit on Freidrich’s answer: ~/.vim/vimrc is possible and preferred by some
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Mar 31 at 12:22
  • Thanks for the correction :-) Mar 31 at 12:25

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