This VI StackExchange message thread provides useful tips for generating a list of known filetypes. However, I often see Vim modelines use abbreviations like js for javascript. These abbreviated forms (e.g., js) are not shown when I issue a command such as

:setfiletype <Ctrl-d>

to list the known filetypes.

So how do I obtain a list of known/supported abbreviations for filetypes?

  • I don't have the impression that these abbreviations are accepted by :setfiletype command. With my configuration :setfiletype set the filetype literally. Is it different for you? What is the result of :setfiletype js and then :set ft?? Aug 29, 2023 at 15:25
  • 3
    No, there is no such thing as "abbreviations for filetypes".
    – romainl
    Aug 29, 2023 at 15:48
  • Okay, thanks for the comments. I sometimes come across webpages and source code with VIM modelines that use abbreviations like 'txt' (which is either a typo, or is intended to be an abbreviation for 'text'), and I got to wondering if maybe the file type strings can be abbreviated a la VIM commands--e.g., set filetype=cpp, or, set ft=cpp Aug 29, 2023 at 18:09
  • 1
    1. txt can be two things: a typo or an actual user-defined filetype. 2. cpp is the filetype.
    – romainl
    Aug 30, 2023 at 5:14
  • Do you still have something open in your question? Otherwise maybe could you accept an answer using the v button next to the arrow voting buttons? It allows the question to rest :-) Sep 6, 2023 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


file type abbreviations are not accepted by the :setfiletype command.

The :setfiletype set the filetype literally.


:setfiletype js

Set the filetype to js (:set ft? returns js) which is not equivalent to javascript

  • 2
    Indeed javascript and js are two different filetypes, the former being the only valid one in Vim out of the box.
    – romainl
    Aug 29, 2023 at 15:45

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