When I use :ls in Vim, I can see the list of open buffers. But when I open a buffer for documentation, for example :h help, I cannot see an entry for it in the :ls list, even if I open it by :tab h help. Why we cannot see that? Is there a way to include this buffer in the list?

2 Answers 2


I think the intention was, that using :ls helps you navigate your buffers on which you are actively working. If you open the help pages and browse between a few topics you can easily have 10s of different help buffers opened, which means the output of :ls might be hard to read and hard to find the correct buffer.

Therefore the Vim help will by default disable the 'buflisted' option:

When this option is set, the buffer shows up in the buffer list. If it is reset it is not used for ":bnext", "ls", the Buffers menu, etc. This option is reset by Vim for buffers that are only used to remember a file name or marks. Vim sets it when starting to edit a buffer. But not when moving to a buffer with ":buffer".

This happens internally in the C code of Vim.

If you want to show unlisted buffers in the output of the :ls command, you can simply include the ! attribute, so :ls! will show also the help pages.

Alternatively, you can enable the 'buflisted' option in a filetype plugin for help files. To do so, add the following line to ~/.vim/after/ftplugin/help.vim (create non-existing directories, assuming Vim here):

setl buflisted

Make sure you have enabled :filetype plugin on to have Vim enable the newly created help filetype plugin.


Help buffers have the 'buflisted' option reset (see :help unlisted-buffer). When you set this option in the help buffer it will be listed by :ls.

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