Installing Vim Pathogen


Manage your 'runtimepath' with ease. In practical terms, pathogen.vim makes it super easy to install plugins and runtime files in their own private directories.


Install to ~/.vim/autoload/pathogen.vim. Or copy and paste:

mkdir -p ~/.vim/autoload ~/.vim/bundle && \
curl -LSso ~/.vim/autoload/pathogen.vim

If you’re using Windows, change all occurrences of ~/.vim to ~\vimfiles.

Runtime Path Manipulation

Add this to your vimrc:

execute pathogen#infect()

If you’re brand new to Vim and lacking a vimrc, vim ~/.vimrc and paste in the following super-minimal example:

execute pathogen#infect()
syntax on
filetype plugin indent on

Now any plugins you wish to install can be extracted to a subdirectory under ~/.vim/bundle, and they will be added to the 'runtimepath'. Observe:

cd ~/.vim/bundle && \
git clone git://

Now sensible.vim is installed. If you really want to get crazy, you could set it up as a submodule in whatever repository you keep your dot files in. I don’t like to get crazy.

If you don’t like the directory name bundle, you can pass a runtime relative glob as an argument:

execute pathogen#infect('stuff/{}')

The {} indicates where the expansion should occur.

You can also pass an absolute path instead. I keep the plugins I maintain under ~/src, and this is how I add them:

execute pathogen#infect('bundle/{}', '~/src/vim/bundle/{}')

Normally to generate documentation, Vim expects you to run :helptags on each directory with documentation (e.g., :helptags ~/.vim/doc). Provided with pathogen.vim is a :Helptags command that does this on every directory in your 'runtimepath'. If you really want to get crazy, you could even invoke Helptags in your vimrc. I don’t like to get crazy.

Finally, pathogen.vim has a rich API that can manipulate 'runtimepath' and other comma-delimited path options in ways most people will never need to do. If you’re one of those edge cases, look at the source. It’s well documented.

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