I want to open another file in the same directory or any file with its path relative to the current directory in command line.

My path is /home/sibich/

 /home/sibich> vim a.pl

In vim, I want to open b.pl in same directory, so I use :

:vim b.pl

Bit I receive this message Invalid pattern or filename

So, I had to give it in shell.

  :!vim b.pl

I want to directly execute this in vim.

Example 2: sub is a folder under /home/sibich

  :vim sub/c.pl

Is there a way to set options such that command line accepts path relative to current directory and allows opening files through split, tabnew and vim commands?

  • 6
    :vim is short for :vimgrep. Is there a reason you aren't using :e?
    – Tommy A
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 13:13
  • 2
    This is the most basic usage of vim, have you used vimtutor or used google to find a solution?
    – statox
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 13:52
  • 2
    @statox: I have been using vim for over a year without knowing anything about it apart from i, dd and wq!. Only for past few weeks, I am learning it through various resources. I have read vimtutor too and didnt notice this. :/ Before asking a question here, I usually Google it and then search in stackoverflow too. I am a beginner :)
    – SibiCoder
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:26
  • 4
    @SibiCoder: I really don't consider myself as an expert and I do understand that as beginners we sometimes have questions which might be trivial. I was just pointing out that this particular question is answered is several different places. I would never want to discourage someone from asking for help: it's the purpose of this community. It's just that on this particular topic a Google research would have provided you an answer and avoided several downvotes :-)
    – statox
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:31

2 Answers 2


Have you tried the edit command?

:edit b.pl

Edit: Not sure if you edited in the last question, or I just missed it the first time. But the only reason you wouldn't be able to use relative paths on :split or :tabnew is if your current working directory isn't the same as the file you're currently editing. So I think what you're looking for is

:set autochdir

This option basically makes your current working directory "follow" you whenever you change buffers. With that options set, you should be able to use relative paths. See :h autochdir for more info.

  • 1
    Thanks. //current working directory isn't the same as the file editing.// I have mistaken the path of the first file to be its current directory. That is, whenever I give the vim command from shell, I believed that the file's directory is the current directory.
    – SibiCoder
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:30
  • 3
    Autochdir is the thing I wanted.
    – SibiCoder
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 17:30

Use :e %:h<filename>, or specifically for your question :e %:hb.pl. Individually these tokens mean

:e edit, but you could use :tabnew or :split etc

% the current file path

:h 'head', which in this usage is the directory of the currently open file

<filename> the relative path of the file you want to open

You can also hit tab after typing :h for a list of filenames at that path.

For further reading, execute :help expand() in vi(m) for more about token expansion.

  • 1
    Thanks, this :h - tab is very helpful. but how do I browse the current directory(after :set autochdir) without making another split vim window? I mean I want to browse the directory in the current wim window (of course the current file shouldn't have any change). ==> Ah, it's just :Explore or :Ex in short. Hope this helps to anyone else.
    – Chan Kim
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 12:20
  • gf but relative path of the file nnoremap <Leader>gf :hide :edit %:h/<cfile><CR>
    – CervEd
    Commented May 9, 2023 at 7:53

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