I am in vim in the .gitignore file. I now want to add a file path that already exists on the current dir, e.g.


I don't want to type it though, I want to navigate to that file somehow with tabcompletion in vim and then insert its filename in the .gitignore file.

How can I achieve this?

What I know I can do is open the editor command

:e app/poit/narf/auth.json

and I can have tabcompletion here. Yet this only gets me the text in the command window, and now I have to yank it somehow inside the buffer. I am also looking more for a more fit solution.

1 Answer 1


You can use vim's file name completion feature for this. To use it, press CTRL-xCTRL-f in insert mode. For more on this, see :help compl-filename. Do note that it isn't recursive, so you must complete the path level by level. (first app/, then poit/, etc.)

  • I see a box opening, yet I am unsure how to navigate within it. Ctrl+N and Ctrl+P move up and down, yet I do not understand your "it isn't recursive part". Could you please elaborate on how I can complete a nested file name multiple level down?
    – k0pernikus
    Jan 8, 2016 at 11:00
  • To select items from the list, use the Ctrl+N and Ctrl+P keys, and keep typing to finish the completion. What I mean by it being non recursive is that you have to complete the path each item at a time, like you would with tab completion in a bash shell. Jan 8, 2016 at 14:22

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