I understand that vim can set syntax for highlighting by defining the classes.

However, this is a bit tedious.

Is there an easy way to change the background of a line, e.g. is there a way by writing

This is the line. ///LightBlue///

, the background color would be light blue?

2 Answers 2


I would do:

highlight LightBlue guibg=#00afff ctermbg=039
match LightBlue /^.*lightblue.*$/

Where the pattern: ^.*lightblue.*$ is identifying the lines that you would like to highlight in light blue (in this example all the lines that contains lightblue).

  • thanks a lot! works like a charm
    – athos
    Commented Mar 21 at 16:55
  • Thanks for the feedback :-) Commented Mar 21 at 21:10
  • is there a limitation that we can't have two highlights, e.g. one lin of lightblue and another with lightgreen?
    – athos
    Commented Mar 23 at 20:32
  • 1
    The :match call override each other but with the syntax call you can have concurrent highlighting (that shouldn't overlap each other though). Commented Mar 23 at 20:37

Using :highlight commands, only changes those parts of a line, that have content. The empty lines won't be colored.

A few years ago, I created a plugin BackgroundColor, that allows to highlight the complete line using Signs.

With that, you can have real background colors like this: enter image description here

Just use the ex commands :Green, :Blue etc.

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