I use set matchpairs+=<:> in my config (to help when editing HTML, for instance), but I just noticed it made vim very slow when editing emails.

Is there a way to have this setting without paying a performance penalty? (e.g., automatically disabling it in cases like emails when it's obviously not relevant to see the numerous > as delimiters)


The slowness of delimiter matching is not caused by vim itself but by the matchparen plugin, which is part of the vim distribution and loaded by default in /etc/vim/vimrc in Debian. (This is why I still had the problem without a vimrc.)

Fortunately the matchparen plugin supports a timeout when looking for matches, so the slowness can be avoided by setting those timeout to lower values. I added the following to my vimrc:

let g:matchparen_timeout = 2
let g:matchparen_insert_timeout = 2

2 milliseconds is plenty of time on modern machines to find a relevant delimiter, and when scrolling down in this file on my machine, display is no longer slugging and CPU usage for vim stays at 15% or so.

Edit: actually I increased it to 20, otherwise I sometimes see it fail. This means there is still some sluggishness, but it's better than without the setting.


If your emails have a particular file type, you could use BufRead or BufNewFile or FileType to turn off some matchpairs automatically:

au BufRead,BufNewFile *.email set mps-=<:>
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    OK, but that's just a workaround, it means vim may also be slow on other file types, or on emails that aren't correctly detected. I'm surprised that there doesn't seem to be a generic way to fix this? Thanks, in any case! – a3nm Oct 16 '15 at 8:15
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    I would suggest exactly the opposite: only set mps when editing HTML instead of making it the default. – Vitor Oct 16 '15 at 10:06

I guess it has something to do with your .vimrc somewhere else, I can still edit emails as long as 10000 lines without having any slowdown with

set matchpairs+=<:>

Can you try with an empty vimrc and start finding out by commenting out other things ?

  • The problem also occurs with just that setting. Using the trivial .vimrc paste.fulltxt.net/sov8ji, when I try opening paste.fulltxt.net/urbFS7i and scroll down by holding 'j', it gets sluggish essentially immediately. (Can you reproduce this? I have "VIM - Vi IMproved 7.4", "2:7.4.826-1" from Debian amd64.) So I still claim this isn't any interaction with my other settings. – a3nm Oct 16 '15 at 20:16
  • By the way, the problem is not specific to < and >, just opening with paste.fulltxt.net/7BxA with syntax on and trying to scroll should be enough to bring vim to its knees. I would be puzzled if there's nothing that can be done for that... – a3nm Oct 16 '15 at 20:18

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