Does vim have a way of arranging split windows in a grid pattern? (Preferably, without closing existing splits, and without using a plugin.)

Tmux has some predefined windowpane layouts. For example, ctrl+b alt+1 will divide the window horizonally (i.e., it moves existing splits into a tall, skinny configuration). And ctrl+b alt+2 will divide the window vertically (it moves existing splits into a short, wide configuration).

The one I'm interested in is tmux's ctrl+b alt+5. If you have an even number of splits, it will arrange the splits in a regular grid pattern. (Except for 8 splits, for some reason. But if there are 9 splits, ctrl+b alt+5 produces a 3x3 grid.)

In vim, using various combinations of ctrl+w H, ctrl+w J, ctrl+w K, ctrl+w L, ctrl+w r, and ctrl+w x, I can reproduce the tmux preset layouts, except for tmux ctrl+b alt+5. And I know that I can get the grid layout by closing and re-splitting a window; but I would like to avoid that.

So, to restate my question: Does vim have a way of arranging split windows in a grid pattern? (Preferably, without closing existing splits, and without using a plugin.)

This question from 2015 is basically the same as mine: How can I get my windows back into a grid formation? (I guess I'm wondering if the answer is still "not really").

I am using vim version 8.1, on WSL Ubuntu in Windows Terminal on Windows 10. (I know vim 9 exists, and I will upgrade sooner or later. If the grid layout functionaly exists in version 9, please let me know.)

Thanks for any help.

  • 1
    Once you have things arranged the way you like, you can use a session or view to get back to that layout quickly.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Feb 6 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


I have created the vim-orpheus plugin to display in the grid all the unsaved buffer at a glance with the command:


I have also added the :Grid command to show all the listed buffer at a glance:

enter image description here

If you are only interested by the code of the Grid command here is the code:

let s:height_factor = 3

function! s:getwindowsize(winnr)
  let ret = winwidth(a:winnr)
  let ret = ret * winheight(a:winnr) * s:height_factor
  return ret

function! s:getlargestwindow()
  let ret = 0
  let largestsize = 0
  for winnr in range(1, winnr('$'))
    let currentsize = s:getwindowsize(winnr)
    if currentsize > largestsize
      let ret = winnr
      let largestsize = currentsize
  return ret

function! s:addonewindow()
  let winnr = s:getlargestwindow()
  execute winnr . 'wincmd w'
  if winheight(winnr) * s:height_factor > winwidth(winnr)
    wincmd s
    wincmd v
  " wincmd =

function! s:spreadbuffers(buffers)
  if len(a:buffers) == 0
  if winnr('$') > 1
    execute 'b' . a:buffers[1]
  for i in range(2, len(a:buffers))
    call s:addonewindow()
  let winnr = 0
  for bufnr in a:buffers
    let winnr = winnr + 1
    execute winnr . 'wincmd w'
    execute 'b' . bufnr

function! s:getlistedbuffers()
  let buffers = range(1, bufnr('$'))
  let buffers = filter(buffers, 'bufexists(v:val)')
  let buffers = filter(buffers, 'getbufinfo(v:val)[0].listed')
  return buffers

function! s:spreadlistedbuffers()
  let buffers = s:getlistedbuffers()
  call s:spreadbuffers(buffers)
  1wincmd w

" Grid All Listed
command! Grid call s:spreadlistedbuffers()
  • Thanks; I will take a look this weekend.
    – m_mlvx
    Feb 8 at 3:53
  • Thanks for the feedback. The code do it for the listed buffers. I could adapt it for the visible buffers if needed. Feb 8 at 5:16

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