There must be a way to change the init.vim / .vimrc so I can quit Vim without saving first (:wq) nor force quitting (:q!). But I only want that behaviour when the Buffer has no name.

Why? Because a lot of times I use Vim just temporary for example:

  • As a calculator
  • Clipboard Text Editor
  • Get the Unicode Value of a Character
  • Dec to Hex Converter
  • Etc... The List is enormous colossal.

I am getting tired of typing in :q! instead of just :q. So any Ideas?

Thanks for your help :)

  • It's called the buftype option Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 12:00
  • @ChristianBrabandt Which one of these 9 Options? It doesn't seem to fit my need...
    – Bog
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 12:14

3 Answers 3


Here are a few variations on the :help 'buftype' theme suggested by Heptite. The idea is the opposite of that in Pixelbog's answer: instead of changing the behavior of :q, we change the nature of the first buffer, turning it into a sacrificial scratchpad.

Shell alias

$ vim +set\ buftype=nofile

starts Vim as usual, with an empty buffer, but makes it a scratch buffer by setting the buftype option to nofile.

You can make it an alias:

alias vims="vim +set\ buftype=nofile"

and do $ vims when you want a Vim scratchpad.

Short Vim command

You can create a Vim command with a short mnemonic name:

" in ~/.vimrc
command S set buftype=nofile

and call that command at startup with:

$ vim +S

when you need a scratchpad.

(I use that very method to edit my vimrc: $ vim +EV.)

Check arguments at startup

You can tell Vim to set the option above if it was called without arguments (filenames):

" in ~/.vimrc
if !exists('g:did_scratchpad') && argc(-1) == 0
    setlocal buftype=nofile
    let g:did_scratchpad = 1

which allows you to simply do $ vim to get a scratchpad. The first empty buffer is the only one that is treated as a scratchpad so you don't have to worry about losing work in files you might decide to edit normally.

FWIW, I think this one is cool and I will probably keep a variation of it for a while.

See :help argc().


Here is a "scratchpad" command from my vimrc, that I use very often:

command! SC vnew | setlocal bufhidden=wipe buftype=nofile nobuflisted noswapfile
  • Very detailed and informative answer, thanks. But does anything speak against doing it with :abbreviate? Are there any disadvantages you can think of to change the behavior of :q? I am gonna try both ways for like a week and then I am gonna pick the better one :)
    – Bog
    Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 11:48
  • No, it's just two different ways to approach the same problem. By focusing a bit too much on your "command" problem you sort of narrow down the field of possible solutions to "command" solutions. Which is not problematic in and of itself, but still a good way to miss better solutions. My answer provides a different perspective: instead of focusing on the "command" problem I focused on the actual need from which the problem arose (using $ vim like a scratchpad), which allowed me to think a bit more outside the box.
    – romainl
    Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 12:13
  • I am gonna use both of our solutions for like a month more. Both have some flaws: For example I don't like your solution, because I often get thrown into an empty buffer without starting vim from the cli. An example is: grep foo bar.txt | neovim -. My solution has the flaw, that it doesn't allow you to forcefully quit (:q!) in an empty buffer, because it will get expanded into this: :q!!. So yeah I am gonna choose in 1 Month which one to pick^^
    – Bog
    Commented Jul 19, 2023 at 13:07
  • Hmm, I don't follow. $ grep foo bar.txt | vim - works just as I would expect it to work: it opens Vim with the output of $ grep foo bar.txt in the first buffer… which is not super useful but I don't see how it conflicts with your stated goal. If you hit :q, then Vim quits just like you asked. If you open other buffers, then :q works normally for those buffers.
    – romainl
    Commented Jul 19, 2023 at 13:53
  • ehmmmmmm.... tbh I have no Idea what my thought behind it was while writing this... My brain is really tired right now^^ You are absolutely right, so far there are no flaws with your approach^^ My bad^^
    – Bog
    Commented Jul 19, 2023 at 14:12

If you set 'buftype' to nofile the buffer will be considered a "scratch buffer" and you won't have to force quit on the buffer, but you also won't be able to write it if you want to save it.

  • Yeah but whats the point of it? Isn't writing bt=nofile way longer than just putting the ! after :q?^^
    – Bog
    Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 6:33


cnoreabbrev <expr> q (bufname('%') == '' ? 'q!' : 'q')


  • You can simply use :abbreviate for this. Even better: :cnoreabbrev.
  • Now you only need to check if the Buffer has a name or not. Do with a simple if-statement

Looks then like this:

function! QuitIfUnnamed()
    if bufname('%') == ''
        execute 'q!'
        execute 'q'

cnoreabbrev <expr> q QuitIfUnnamed()

And now if you want it to only have a one-liner, you can use a ternary operator and it would look like this:

cnoreabbrev <expr> q (bufname('%') == '' ? 'q!' : 'q')
  • 1
    Try :help empty()
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jul 14, 2023 at 15:22

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