For example, I have the following autocommand definition:

augroup cursorline
    autocmd WinLeave,BufLeave * set nocursorline
    autocmd WinEnter,BufEnter * set cursorline
augroup end

I want to define something that excludes *.tex files:

autocmd WinEnter,BufEnter * "except *.tex" set cursorline

What is the syntax for that? I'm not sure what keywords to search the help docs.

4 Answers 4


In the same spirit as @Sundar answer but with a little more flexible syntax you can do:

let ftToIgnore = ['latex', 'plaintex']
autocmd BufWritePre * if index(ftToIgnore, &ft) < 0 | set your options

I tend to prefer this syntax because:

  • You can easily add new filtetypes if you want.
  • The condition length stay the same no matter how many filetypes you're checking.
  • Neat ! Where did you find that you could run a condition/function inside the autocommand ?
    – nobe4
    Aug 24, 2015 at 13:00
  • 2
    Well its the same principe as the @sundar answer excepted the condition isn't on the value of a variable but on the return value of a function.
    – statox
    Aug 24, 2015 at 13:03

How about:

autocmd WinEnter,BufEnter * if &filetype != "latex" && &filetype != "plaintex" | set cursorline | endif

better formatted as

autocmd WinEnter,BufEnter * if &filetype != "latex" && &filetype != "plaintex" 
                            \ | set cursorline 
                            \ | endif

This depends upon the filetype as detected or set by Vim, and so doesn't have any case-sensitivity issues. (You might want to check what your tex files are being detected as, by running set filetype? in Vim's commandline).


I didn't find anything that seems to support what you want, but you can do quite the same with a little bit of scripting :

function! s:ToggleCursorLine(open) abort
  let l:extension = expand('%:e')
  if l:extension !=? 'tex'
    if a:open
      set cursorline
      set nocursorline

augroup cursorline
  autocmd WinLeave,BufLeave * call s:ToggleCursorLine(1)
  autocmd WinEnter,BufEnter * call s:ToggleCursorLine(0)
augroup end

Reference : :h expand()

  • 1
    You might want to use !=# instead of != on UNIX, and !=? on Windows. Otherwise the result depends on the value of ignorecase. Aug 24, 2015 at 5:35
  • Could you point me to an explaination of the difference between !=# and !=? ? Because on :h expr4 it doesn't mention Windows/Unix.
    – nobe4
    Aug 24, 2015 at 5:42
  • 1
    UNIX filenames are (usually) case-sensitive, Windows ones are case-insensitive. Aug 24, 2015 at 9:56

This works for Syntax autocommands, where the pattern (<match>) is just the filetype. It excludes any rst files:

au Syntax *\(^rst\)\@<! …

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