I found that when I am using Vim to compose git commit messages (which I have been doing for a very long time now) that there are occasionally some quirks.

For example today I wrote a commit message that began with the word "do".

This actually forces the second line to be indented for me. Likely because do is often a keyword that initiates a do...while loop.

How can I make modifications to syntax definitions to remove this behavior?

When I am in this situation, the formatoptions is set to caq1njwtl. However, I don't think that this is relevant because I don't really care about having my message auto-wrapped, I just want it to not apply any indentation.

  • I think the correct answer is almost certainly an autocommand based on the gitcommit filetype. I'll post it if I can come up with one myself.
    – Steven Lu
    Feb 9, 2015 at 2:19
  • Hmm, I can't reproduce your issue? I set the formatoptions to caq1njwtl, do git commit, and hit i (for insert mode), type do and hit enter ... Am I doing it right? ... I can't get the gitcommit filetype to apply auto-indent no matter what I do ... There isn't even an indent/git*.vim file on my system? Feb 9, 2015 at 2:22
  • 2
    While you're typing a commit message, if you try typing :set ft? and hitting enter, what is the output?
    – Doorknob
    Feb 9, 2015 at 2:24
  • It's gitcommit. I solved it. Posting answer now.
    – Steven Lu
    Feb 9, 2015 at 7:35
  • @Carpetsmoker Yeah, my .vimrc is 1703 lines and 52K in size at present. I'm not surprised at all that this isn't reproduced with vanilla vim.
    – Steven Lu
    Feb 9, 2015 at 7:59

1 Answer 1


Here is how I solved the problem, by adding to my .vimrc:

autocmd FileType gitcommit set nosmartindent | set formatoptions-=t

This removes the option that causes the lines to auto-wrap (which is another tweak I also made -- take out the last part including the | if you do not want to change this).

The take-away here is that nosmartindent is the trick to addressing any undesired auto indentation behaviors.

  • 1
    smartindent is something you only want to enable in C, and maybe a few languages with a syntax that's very similar... I think it's a leftover from before Vim had indent files for different languages. Feb 9, 2015 at 7:52
  • Yeah maybe I will test with smartindent removed from my configuration and enabling it only for specific C-style filetypes (and javascript, etc). I already have an autocmd for Python that disables it as well, which was put in place for reasons quickly becoming obvious.
    – Steven Lu
    Feb 9, 2015 at 8:01
  • Even without filetype-specific indent scripts, 'cindent' has replaced the functionality of 'smartindent'.
    – jamessan
    Feb 10, 2015 at 4:53

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