I have some files in my vim buffer.

:ls shows the list of active buffer, I want to open a file from buffer into a vertically/horizontally split window.

I know :vsp or :sp open split window in vim but how to open a split window from files in buffer?

  • Those are "buffers" (not "files") and they are in your "buffer list" (not "buffer").
    – romainl
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 16:15
  • But they represent files which have been recently opened. Right?
    – WitVault
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 19:12
  • Related: see :h gf and :h CTRL-W_f. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 20:49
  • No, they represent "documents" that may or may not be associated to actual files.
    – romainl
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 21:54

3 Answers 3


You can give

:vsplit | buffer buffernumber/buffername

to open a buffer in vertical split mode.


:split | buffer 3

Same applies to horizontal split mode too. You can use :sp as a shortcut for :split and :vs for :vsplit


You can do :2sbN or :sbN 2 to split the window and go to the 2 buffer. To split the window vertically, you can use :vert sbN 3 to go to buffer 3.

An alternative solution is to use the :sp [+cmd] syntax. To vertical split the window and go to buffer 10 you would then use :vsp +b10.

  • It will be better if you could include the syntax for opening buffer through its name
    – SibiCoder
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 16:14
  • the syntax is explained in the help Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 17:33
  • Why use :sbN over :sb? I fine :sb to be very hand as you can use partial filenames. Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 18:35
  • What is the meaning of :sb in understandable terms?
    – WitVault
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 21:18
  • I think its split buffer.
    – SibiCoder
    Commented Jun 8, 2016 at 3:31

:sp and :vs take a filename as argument.

So you can do :sp filename and :sp filename.

The doc :h :sp says:

:[N]sp[lit] [++opt] [+cmd] [file]

If [file] is given it will be edited in the new window. If it is not loaded in any buffer, it will be read. Else the new window will use the already loaded buffer.

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