The question is somewhat straightforward. To open a vertical split, I use: :vs. When opening a vertical split, I'd like to initialize it with a file directly.

If I do :vs myfile.txt this will move the file I am currently working on to the right and open myfile.txt on the left of the split.

Rather, I would like the opposite to happen: the file I am working on before the vertical split stays on the left, and myfile.txt opens on the right of the split.

  • You can change the orientation later with <Ctrl-w> [H|J|K|L] keys. In you specific case you can use <Ctrl-w> L Aug 23, 2016 at 11:00
  • <Ctrl-w> closes my terminal window. <Ctrl-Shift-w> tapped twice makes me change splits.
    – solalito
    Aug 23, 2016 at 11:02
  • What terminal are you using? Aug 23, 2016 at 11:06
  • @NabarunChatterjee Not sure if that's how you check but echo $TERM returns xterm-color
    – solalito
    Aug 23, 2016 at 11:10
  • Are you using the default Terminal app in os because that closes with <Command-w>. Aug 23, 2016 at 11:19

1 Answer 1


You should use:

:botright vsp myFile.txt

See :h botright:

Execute {cmd}. If it contains a command that splits a window, it will appear at the bottom and occupy the full width of the Vim window. When the split is vertical the window appears at the far right and occupies the full height of the Vim window.

EDIT Credit goes to ingo for this one:

You can make botright the default behavior by using the splitright option in your vimrc. In this configuration topleft can be used to open a split on the left.

  • 1
    That's exactly what I was looking for, thanks
    – solalito
    Aug 23, 2016 at 11:22
  • 3
    @solalito if you want this to be the default behaviour, you can set the splitright option and then use :vs myFile.txt to open the new file on a vertical split to the right. To open a split on the left in this configuration, you can then use topleft vs myFile.txt.
    – Ingo
    Aug 23, 2016 at 11:54
  • 1
    @Ingo Thanks for the tip, that makes things easier!
    – solalito
    Aug 23, 2016 at 12:24
  • Note that having 'splitright' set won't always produce the same results as using :botright. e.g. Try both :vs and :botright vs when your window already contains two horizontal splits.
    – Rich
    Nov 9, 2017 at 10:06
  • @Rich, what if you also set 'splitbelow'? Source: thoughtbot.com/blog/vim-splits-move-faster-and-more-naturally
    – ma11hew28
    Nov 5, 2019 at 17:37

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