I want all of my files ending in .tex to have line length 80. So whenever I open a .tex file in vim I type :set tw=79. What would I put in my .vimrc to automate this?

What if I wanted it to work with a specific list of filetypes, say, .md, .txt, and .tex?

2 Answers 2


Instead of checking the extension and setting the textwidth accordingly you could simply create a tex.vim (the name must match the filetype) file in .vim/ftplugin/ or for Windows $HOME/vimfiles/ftplugin/ and set textwidth there. This will help you to keep your .vimrc clean.

Your .vim/ftplugin/tex.vim file would look like:

setlocal textwidth=79

As 8bittree said in the comments you also have to enable filetype plugins in your vimrc (I woudln't know why anybody would not enable it):

filetype plugin on

Read this for more information: http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Keep_your_vimrc_file_clean

  • 2
    You'll also want to make sure filetype plugins are enabled in your .vimrc with filetype plugin on.
    – 8bittree
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 15:54

In ~/.vimrc you can add the following line:

au BufReadPost,BufNewFile *.md,*.txt,*.tex setlocal tw=79

For extra commands, separate them by |.

This will set your settings right after reading the file, or opening a new file into the buffer for specific extensions.

  • 2
    set can take any number of settings. Something like set tw=79 nowrap formatoptions+=j will work. No need for a | (unless you want to call a different command, of course) ;-) Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 19:38

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