What is the difference between the following in vim:

  • buffer
  • window
  • viewport
  • split
  • tab

1 Answer 1


A buffer is the in-memory text of a file. It may differ from the saved version of the file.

A window is a view of a buffer. You can have two (or more) windows editing different parts of the same buffer.

A viewport is synonymous with a window.

A tab page contains one or more windows. You can see what windows are in which tab with :tabs.

A split is where the screen space previously occupied by one window is then allocated to two windows. A window can be split either horizontally (:split) or vertically (:vsplit), and a window inside a split can itself be split again.

Further reading: :help windows, :help :tab-page, Buffers, windows and tabs - Tom Ryder


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