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quickfix.txt  For Vim version 8.1.  Last change: 2019 Jan 13

                  VIM REFERENCE MANUAL    by Bram Moolenaar

This subject is introduced in section 30.1 of the user manual.

1. Using QuickFix commands              quickfix
2. The error window                     quickfix-window
3. Using more than one list of errors   quickfix-error-lists
4. Using :make                          :make_makeprg
5. Using :grep                          grep
6. Selecting a compiler                 compiler-select
7. The error format                     error-file-format
8. The directory stack                  quickfix-directory-stack
9. Specific error file formats          errorformats

{Vi does not have any of these commands}

The quickfix commands are not available when the +quickfix feature was
disabled at compile time.

1. Using QuickFix commands                      quickfix Quickfix E42

Vim has a special mode to speedup the edit-compile-edit cycle.  This is
inspired by the quickfix option of the Manx's Aztec C compiler on the Amiga.
The idea is to save the error messages from the compiler in a file and use Vim
to jump to the errors one by one.  You can examine each problem and fix it,
without having to remember all the error messages.

In Vim the quickfix commands are used more generally to find a list of
positions in files.  For example, :vimgrep finds pattern matches.  You can
use the positions in a script with the getqflist() function.  Thus you can
do a lot more than the edit/compile/fix cycle!

If you have the error messages in a file you can start Vim with:
        vim -q filename

From inside Vim an easy way to run a command and handle the output is with the
:make command (see below).

The 'errorformat' option should be set to match the error messages from your
compiler (see errorformat below).

Each quickfix list has a unique identifier called the quickfix ID and this
number will not change within a Vim session. The getqflist() function can be
used to get the identifier assigned to a list. There is also a quickfix list
number which may change whenever more than ten lists are added to a quickfix

                                                location-list E776
A location list is a window-local quickfix list. You get one after commands
like :lvimgrep:lgrep:lhelpgrep:lmake, etc., which create a
location list instead of a quickfix list as the corresponding :vimgrep,
:grep:helpgrep:make do.
A location list is associated with a window and each window can have a
separate location list.  A location list can be associated with only one
window.  The location list is independent of the quickfix list.

When a window with a location list is split, the new window gets a copy of the
location list.  When there are no longer any references to a location list,
the location list is destroyed.

Every quickfix and location list has a read-only changedtick variable that
tracks the total number of changes made to the list.  Every time the quickfix
list is modified, this count is incremented. This can be used to perform an
action only when the list has changed.  The getqflist() and getloclist()
functions can be used to query the current value of changedtick.  You cannot
change the changedtick variable.

The following quickfix commands can be used.  The location list commands are
similar to the quickfix commands, replacing the 'c' prefix in the quickfix
command with 'l'.

If the current window was closed by an autocommand while processing a
location list command, it will be aborted.

                                                        E925 E926
If the current quickfix or location list was changed by an autocommand while
processing a quickfix or location list command, it will be aborted.

:cc[!] [nr]             Display error [nr].  If [nr] is omitted, the same
                        error is displayed again.  Without [!] this doesn't
                        work when jumping to another buffer, the current buffer
                        has been changed, there is the only window for the
                        buffer and both 'hidden' and 'autowrite' are off.
                        When jumping to another buffer with [!] any changes to
                        the current buffer are lost, unless 'hidden' is set or
                        there is another window for this buffer.
                        The 'switchbuf' settings are respected when jumping
                        to a buffer.

:ll[!] [nr]             Same as ":cc", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :cn :cnext E553
:[count]cn[ext][!]      Display the [count] next error in the list that
                        includes a file name.  If there are no file names at
                        all, go to the [count] next error.  See :cc for
                        [!] and 'switchbuf'.

                                                        :lne :lnext
:[count]lne[xt][!]      Same as ":cnext", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

:[count]cN[ext][!]              :cp :cprevious  :cprev :cN :cNext
:[count]cp[revious][!]  Display the [count] previous error in the list that
                        includes a file name.  If there are no file names at
                        all, go to the [count] previous error.  See :cc for
                        [!] and 'switchbuf'.

:[count]lN[ext][!]              :lp :lprevious :lprev :lN :lNext
:[count]lp[revious][!]  Same as ":cNext" and ":cprevious", except the location
                        list for the current window is used instead of the
                        quickfix list.

                                                        :cnf :cnfile
:[count]cnf[ile][!]     Display the first error in the [count] next file in
                        the list that includes a file name.  If there are no
                        file names at all or if there is no next file, go to
                        the [count] next error.  See :cc for [!] and

                                                        :lnf :lnfile
:[count]lnf[ile][!]     Same as ":cnfile", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

:[count]cNf[ile][!]                     :cpf :cpfile :cNf :cNfile
:[count]cpf[ile][!]     Display the last error in the [count] previous file in
                        the list that includes a file name.  If there are no
                        file names at all or if there is no next file, go to
                        the [count] previous error.  See :cc for [!] and

:[count]lNf[ile][!]                     :lpf :lpfile :lNf :lNfile
:[count]lpf[ile][!]     Same as ":cNfile" and ":cpfile", except the location
                        list for the current window is used instead of the
                        quickfix list.

                                                        :crewind :cr
:cr[ewind][!] [nr]      Display error [nr].  If [nr] is omitted, the FIRST
                        error is displayed.  See :cc.

                                                        :lrewind :lr
:lr[ewind][!] [nr]      Same as ":crewind", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :cfirst :cfir
:cfir[st][!] [nr]       Same as ":crewind".

                                                        :lfirst :lfir
:lfir[st][!] [nr]       Same as ":lrewind".

                                                        :clast :cla
:cla[st][!] [nr]        Display error [nr].  If [nr] is omitted, the LAST
                        error is displayed.  See :cc.

                                                        :llast :lla
:lla[st][!] [nr]        Same as ":clast", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :cq :cquit
:cq[uit][!]             Quit Vim with an error code, so that the compiler
                        will not compile the same file again.
                        WARNING: All changes in files are lost!  Also when the
                        [!] is not used.  It works like ":qall!" :qall,
                        except that Vim returns a non-zero exit code.

                                                        :cf :cfile
:cf[ile][!] [errorfile] Read the error file and jump to the first error.
                        This is done automatically when Vim is started with
                        the -q option.  You can use this command when you
                        keep Vim running while compiling.  If you give the
                        name of the errorfile, the 'errorfile' option will
                        be set to [errorfile].  See :cc for [!].
                        If the encoding of the error file differs from the
                        'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding'
                        option to specify the encoding.

                                                        :lf :lfile
:lf[ile][!] [errorfile] Same as ":cfile", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.
                        You can not use the -q command-line option to set
                        the location list.

:cg[etfile] [errorfile]                                 :cg :cgetfile
                        Read the error file.  Just like ":cfile" but don't
                        jump to the first error.
                        If the encoding of the error file differs from the
                        'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding'
                        option to specify the encoding.

:lg[etfile] [errorfile]                                 :lg :lgetfile
                        Same as ":cgetfile", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :caddf :caddfile
:caddf[ile] [errorfile] Read the error file and add the errors from the
                        errorfile to the current quickfix list. If a quickfix
                        list is not present, then a new list is created.
                        If the encoding of the error file differs from the
                        'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding'
                        option to specify the encoding.

                                                        :laddf :laddfile
:laddf[ile] [errorfile] Same as ":caddfile", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                :cb :cbuffer E681
:cb[uffer][!] [bufnr]   Read the error list from the current buffer.
                        When [bufnr] is given it must be the number of a
                        loaded buffer.  That buffer will then be used instead
                        of the current buffer.
                        A range can be specified for the lines to be used.
                        Otherwise all lines in the buffer are used.
                        See :cc for [!].

                                                :lb :lbuffer
:lb[uffer][!] [bufnr]   Same as ":cbuffer", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                :cgetb :cgetbuffer
:cgetb[uffer] [bufnr]   Read the error list from the current buffer.  Just
                        like ":cbuffer" but don't jump to the first error.

                                                :lgetb :lgetbuffer
:lgetb[uffer] [bufnr]   Same as ":cgetbuffer", except the location list for
                        the current window is used instead of the quickfix

                                                        :cad :caddbuffer
:cad[dbuffer] [bufnr]   Read the error list from the current buffer and add
                        the errors to the current quickfix list.  If a
                        quickfix list is not present, then a new list is
                        created. Otherwise, same as ":cbuffer".

                                                        :laddb :laddbuffer
:laddb[uffer] [bufnr]   Same as ":caddbuffer", except the location list for
                        the current window is used instead of the quickfix

                                                        :cex :cexpr E777
:cex[pr][!] {expr}      Create a quickfix list using the result of {expr} and
                        jump to the first error.
                        If {expr} is a String, then each new-line terminated
                        line in the String is processed using the global value
                        of 'errorformat' and the result is added to the
                        quickfix list.
                        If {expr} is a List, then each String item in the list
                        is processed and added to the quickfix list.  Non
                        String items in the List are ignored.
                        See :cc for [!].
                                :cexpr system('grep -n xyz *')
                                :cexpr getline(1, '$')

                                                        :lex :lexpr
:lex[pr][!] {expr}      Same as :cexpr, except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :cgete :cgetexpr
:cgete[xpr] {expr}      Create a quickfix list using the result of {expr}.
                        Just like :cexpr, but don't jump to the first error.

                                                        :lgete :lgetexpr
:lgete[xpr] {expr}      Same as :cgetexpr, except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :cadde :caddexpr
:cadde[xpr] {expr}      Evaluate {expr} and add the resulting lines to the
                        current quickfix list. If a quickfix list is not
                        present, then a new list is created. The current
                        cursor position will not be changed. See :cexpr for
                        more information.
    :g/mypattern/caddexpr expand("%") . ":" . line(".") .  ":" . getline(".")

                                                        :lad :laddexpr
:lad[dexpr] {expr}      Same as ":caddexpr", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :cl :clist
:cl[ist] [from] [, [to]]
                        List all errors that are valid quickfix-valid.
                        If numbers [from] and/or [to] are given, the respective
                        range of errors is listed.  A negative number counts
                        from the last error backwards, -1 being the last error.
                        The 'switchbuf' settings are respected when jumping
                        to a buffer.
                        The :filter command can be used to display only the
                        quickfix entries matching a supplied pattern. The
                        pattern is matched against the filename, module name,
                        pattern and text of the entry.

:cl[ist] +{count}       List the current and next {count} valid errors.  This
                        is similar to ":clist from from+count", where "from"
                        is the current error position.

:cl[ist]! [from] [, [to]]
                        List all errors.

:cl[ist]! +{count}      List the current and next {count} error lines.  This
                        is useful to see unrecognized lines after the current
                        one.  For example, if ":clist" shows:
        8384 error: cannot find symbol
                        Then using ":cl! +3" shows the reason:
        8384 error: cannot find symbol
        8385:   ZexitCode = Fmainx();
        8386:               ^
        8387:   symbol:   method Fmainx()

:lli[st] [from] [, [to]]                                :lli :llist
                        Same as ":clist", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

:lli[st]! [from] [, [to]]
                        List all the entries in the location list for the
                        current window.

If you insert or delete lines, mostly the correct error location is still
found because hidden marks are used.  Sometimes, when the mark has been
deleted for some reason, the message "line changed" is shown to warn you that
the error location may not be correct.  If you quit Vim and start again the
marks are lost and the error locations may not be correct anymore.

Two autocommands are available for running commands before and after a
quickfix command (':make', ':grep' and so on) is executed. See
QuickFixCmdPre and QuickFixCmdPost for details.

When 'encoding' differs from the locale, the error messages may have a
different encoding from what Vim is using.  To convert the messages you can
use this code:
        function QfMakeConv()
           let qflist = getqflist()
           for i in qflist
              let i.text = iconv(i.text, "cp936", "utf-8")
           call setqflist(qflist)

        au QuickfixCmdPost make call QfMakeConv()
Another option is using 'makeencoding'.

Every quickfix and location list has a title. By default the title is set to
the command that created the list. The getqflist() and getloclist()
functions can be used to get the title of a quickfix and a location list
respectively. The setqflist() and setloclist() functions can be used to
modify the title of a quickfix and location list respectively. Examples:
        call setqflist([], 'a', {'title' : 'Cmd output'})
        echo getqflist({'title' : 1})
        call setloclist(3, [], 'a', {'title' : 'Cmd output'})
        echo getloclist(3, {'title' : 1})

When you jump to a quickfix/location list entry using any of the quickfix
commands (e.g. :cc:cnext:cprev, etc.), that entry becomes the
currently selected entry. The index of the currently selected entry in a
quickfix/location list can be obtained using the getqflist()/getloclist()
functions. Examples:
        echo getqflist({'idx' : 0}).idx
        echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 0}).idx
        echo getloclist(2, {'idx' : 0}).idx

For a new quickfix list, the first entry is selected and the index is 1.  Any
entry in any quickfix/location list can be set as the currently selected entry
using the setqflist() function. Examples:
        call setqflist([], 'a', {'idx' : 12})
        call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 7})
        call setloclist(1, [], 'a', {'idx' : 7})

You can get the number of entries (size) in a quickfix and a location list
using the getqflist() and getloclist() functions respectively. Examples:
        echo getqflist({'size' : 1})
        echo getloclist(5, {'size' : 1})

Any Vim type can be associated as a context with a quickfix or location list.
The setqflist() and the setloclist() functions can be used to associate a
context with a quickfix and a location list respectively. The getqflist()
and the getloclist() functions can be used to retrieve the context of a
quickfix and a location list respectively. This is useful for a Vim plugin
dealing with multiple quickfix/location lists.

        let somectx = {'name' : 'Vim', 'type' : 'Editor'}
        call setqflist([], 'a', {'context' : somectx})
        echo getqflist({'context' : 1})

        let newctx = ['red', 'green', 'blue']
        call setloclist(2, [], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'context' : newctx})
        echo getloclist(2, {'id' : qfid, 'context' : 1})

You can parse a list of lines using 'errorformat' without creating or
modifying a quickfix list using the getqflist() function. Examples:
        echo getqflist({'lines' : ["F1:10:Line10", "F2:20:Line20"]})
        echo getqflist({'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn quickfix *')})
This returns a dictionary where the 'items' key contains the list of quickfix
entries parsed from lines. The following shows how to use a custom
'errorformat' to parse the lines without modifying the 'errorformat' option:
        echo getqflist({'efm' : '%f#%l#%m', 'lines' : ['F1#10#Line']})

:cdo[!] {cmd}           Execute {cmd} in each valid entry in the quickfix list.
                        It works like doing this:
                        When the current file can't be abandoned and the [!]
                        is not present, the command fails.
                        When an error is detected execution stops.
                        The last buffer (or where an error occurred) becomes
                        the current buffer.
                        {cmd} can contain '|' to concatenate several commands.

                        Only valid entries in the quickfix list are used.
                        A range can be used to select entries, e.g.:
                                :10,$cdo cmd
                        To skip entries 1 to 9.

                        Note: While this command is executing, the Syntax
                        autocommand event is disabled by adding it to
                        'eventignore'.  This considerably speeds up editing
                        each buffer.
                        {not in Vi}
                        Also see :bufdo:tabdo:argdo:windo,
                        :ldo:cfdo and :lfdo.

:cfdo[!] {cmd}          Execute {cmd} in each file in the quickfix list.
                        It works like doing this:
                        Otherwise it works the same as :cdo.
                        {not in Vi}

:ld[o][!] {cmd}         Execute {cmd} in each valid entry in the location list
                        for the current window.
                        It works like doing this:
                        Only valid entries in the location list are used.
                        Otherwise it works the same as :cdo.
                        {not in Vi}

:lfdo[!] {cmd}          Execute {cmd} in each file in the location list for
                        the current window.
                        It works like doing this:
                        Otherwise it works the same as :ldo.
                        {not in Vi}

2. The error window                                     quickfix-window

                                            :cope :copen w:quickfix_title
:cope[n] [height]       Open a window to show the current list of errors.

                        When [height] is given, the window becomes that high
                        (if there is room).  When [height] is omitted the
                        window is made ten lines high.

                        If there already is a quickfix window, it will be made
                        the current window.  It is not possible to open a
                        second quickfix window.  If [height] is given the
                        existing window will be resized to it.

                        The window will contain a special buffer, with
                        'buftype' equal to "quickfix".  Don't change this!
                        The window will have the w:quickfix_title variable set
                        which will indicate the command that produced the
                        quickfix list. This can be used to compose a custom
                        status line if the value of 'statusline' is adjusted
                        properly. Whenever this buffer is modified by a
                        quickfix command or function, the b:changedtick
                        variable is incremented.  You can get the number of
                        this buffer using the getqflist() and getloclist()
                        functions by passing the 'qfbufnr' item. For a
                        location list, this buffer is wiped out when the
                        location list is removed.

                                                        :lop :lopen
:lop[en] [height]       Open a window to show the location list for the
                        current window. Works only when the location list for
                        the current window is present.  You can have more than
                        one location window opened at a time.  Otherwise, it
                        acts the same as ":copen".

                                                        :ccl :cclose
:ccl[ose]               Close the quickfix window.

                                                        :lcl :lclose
:lcl[ose]               Close the window showing the location list for the
                        current window.

                                                        :cw :cwindow
:cw[indow] [height]     Open the quickfix window when there are recognized
                        errors.  If the window is already open and there are
                        no recognized errors, close the window.

                                                        :lw :lwindow
:lw[indow] [height]     Same as ":cwindow", except use the window showing the
                        location list for the current window.

                                                        :cbo :cbottom
:cbo[ttom]              Put the cursor in the last line of the quickfix window
                        and scroll to make it visible.  This is useful for
                        when errors are added by an asynchronous callback.
                        Only call it once in a while if there are many
                        updates to avoid a lot of redrawing.

                                                        :lbo :lbottom
:lbo[ttom]              Same as ":cbottom", except use the window showing the
                        location list for the current window.

Normally the quickfix window is at the bottom of the screen.  If there are
vertical splits, it's at the bottom of the rightmost column of windows.  To
make it always occupy the full width:
        :botright cwindow
You can move the window around with window-moving commands.
For example, to move it to the top: CTRL-W K
The 'winfixheight' option will be set, which means that the window will mostly
keep its height, ignoring 'winheight' and 'equalalways'.  You can change the
height manually (e.g., by dragging the status line above it with the mouse).

In the quickfix window, each line is one error.  The line number is equal to
the error number.  The current entry is highlighted with the QuickFixLine
highlighting.  You can change it to your liking, e.g.:
        :hi QuickFixLine ctermbg=Yellow guibg=Yellow

You can use "" to jump to the error under the cursor.
Hitting the <Enter> key or double-clicking the mouse on a line has the same
effect.  The file containing the error is opened in the window above the
quickfix window.  If there already is a window for that file, it is used
instead.  If the buffer in the used window has changed, and the error is in
another file, jumping to the error will fail.  You will first have to make
sure the window contains a buffer which can be abandoned.
                                        CTRL-W_<Enter> CTRL-W_<CR>
You can use CTRL-W <Enter> to open a new window and jump to the error there.

When the quickfix window has been filled, two autocommand events are
triggered.  First the 'filetype' option is set to "qf", which triggers the
FileType event.  Then the BufReadPost event is triggered, using "quickfix" for
the buffer name.  This can be used to perform some action on the listed
errors.  Example:
        au BufReadPost quickfix  setlocal modifiable
                \ | silent exe 'g/^/s//\=line(".")." "/'
                \ | setlocal nomodifiable
This prepends the line number to each line.  Note the use of "\=" in the
substitute string of the ":s" command, which is used to evaluate an
The BufWinEnter event is also triggered, again using "quickfix" for the buffer

Note: When adding to an existing quickfix list the autocommand are not

Note: Making changes in the quickfix window has no effect on the list of
errors.  'modifiable' is off to avoid making changes.  If you delete or insert
lines anyway, the relation between the text and the error number is messed up.
If you really want to do this, you could write the contents of the quickfix
window to a file and use ":cfile" to have it parsed and used as the new error

The location list window displays the entries in a location list.  When you
open a location list window, it is created below the current window and
displays the location list for the current window.  The location list window
is similar to the quickfix window, except that you can have more than one
location list window open at a time. When you use a location list command in
this window, the displayed location list is used.

When you select a file from the location list window, the following steps are
used to find a window to edit the file:

1. If a window with the location list displayed in the location list window is
   present, then the file is opened in that window.
2. If the above step fails and if the file is already opened in another
   window, then that window is used.
3. If the above step fails then an existing window showing a buffer with
   'buftype' not set is used.
4. If the above step fails, then the file is edited in a new window.

In all of the above cases, if the location list for the selected window is not
yet set, then it is set to the location list displayed in the location list

You can use the getqflist() and getloclist() functions to obtain the
window ID of the quickfix window and location list window respectively (if
present).  Examples:
        echo getqflist({'winid' : 1}).winid
        echo getloclist(2, {'winid' : 1}).winid

The getqflist() and getloclist() functions can be used to get the various
attributes of a quickfix and location list respectively. Some examples for
using these functions are below:

    " get the title of the current quickfix list
    :echo getqflist({'title' : 0}).title

    " get the identifier of the current quickfix list
    :let qfid = getqflist({'id' : 0}).id

    " get the identifier of the fourth quickfix list in the stack
    :let qfid = getqflist({'nr' : 4, 'id' : 0}).id

    " check whether a quickfix list with a specific identifier exists
    :if getqflist({'id' : qfid}).id == qfid

    " get the index of the current quickfix list in the stack
    :let qfnum = getqflist({'nr' : 0}).nr

    " get the items of a quickfix list specified by an identifier
    :echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'items' : 0}).items

    " get the number of entries in a quickfix list specified by an id
    :echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'size' : 0}).size

    " get the context of the third quickfix list in the stack
    :echo getqflist({'nr' : 3, 'context' : 0}).context

    " get the number of quickfix lists in the stack
    :echo getqflist({'nr' : '$'}).nr

    " get the number of times the current quickfix list is changed
    :echo getqflist({'changedtick' : 0}).changedtick

    " get the current entry in a quickfix list specified by an identifier
    :echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 0}).idx

    " get all the quickfix list attributes using an identifier
    :echo getqflist({'id' : qfid, 'all' : 0})

    " parse text from a List of lines and return a quickfix list
    :let myList = ["", ""]
    :echo getqflist({'lines' : myList}).items

    " parse text using a custom 'efm' and return a quickfix list
    :echo getqflist({'lines' : ['a.c#10#Line 10'], 'efm':'%f#%l#%m'}).items

    " get the quickfix list window id
    :echo getqflist({'winid' : 0}).winid

    " get the quickfix list window buffer number
    :echo getqflist({'qfbufnr' : 0}).qfbufnr

    " get the context of the current location list
    :echo getloclist(0, {'context' : 0}).context

    " get the location list window id of the third window
    :echo getloclist(3, {'winid' : 0}).winid

    " get the location list window buffer number of the third window
    :echo getloclist(3, {'qfbufnr' : 0}).qfbufnr

    " get the file window id of a location list window (winnr: 4)
    :echo getloclist(4, {'filewinid' : 0}).filewinid

The setqflist() and setloclist() functions can be used to set the various
attributes of a quickfix and location list respectively. Some examples for
using these functions are below:

    " create an empty quickfix list with a title and a context
    :let t = 'Search results'
    :let c = {'cmd' : 'grep'}
    :call setqflist([], ' ', {'title' : t, 'context' : c})

    " set the title of the current quickfix list
    :call setqflist([], 'a', {'title' : 'Mytitle'})

    " change the current entry in the list specified by an identifier
    :call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'idx' : 10})

    " set the context of a quickfix list specified by an identifier
    :call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'context' : {'val' : 100}})

    " create a new quickfix list from a command output
    :call setqflist([], ' ', {'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn main *.c')})

    " parse text using a custom efm and add to a particular quickfix list
    :call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid,
                \ 'lines' : ["a.c#10#L10", "b.c#20#L20"], 'efm':'%f#%l#%m'})

    " add items to the quickfix list specified by an identifier
    :let newItems = [{'filename' : 'a.txt', 'lnum' : 10, 'text' : "Apple"},
                    \ {'filename' : 'b.txt', 'lnum' : 20, 'text' : "Orange"}]
    :call setqflist([], 'a', {'id' : qfid, 'items' : newItems})

    " empty a quickfix list specified by an identifier
    :call setqflist([], 'r', {'id' : qfid, 'items' : []})

    " free all the quickfix lists in the stack
    :call setqflist([], 'f')

    " set the title of the fourth quickfix list
    :call setqflist([], 'a', {'nr' : 4, 'title' : 'SomeTitle'})

    " create a new quickfix list at the end of the stack
    :call setqflist([], ' ', {'nr' : '$',
                        \ 'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn class *.java')})

    " create a new location list from a command output
    :call setloclist(0, [], ' ', {'lines' : systemlist('grep -Hn main *.c')})

    " replace the location list entries for the third window
    :call setloclist(3, [], 'r', {'items' : newItems})

3. Using more than one list of errors                   quickfix-error-lists

So far has been assumed that there is only one list of errors.  Actually the
ten last used lists are remembered.  When starting a new list, the previous
ones are automatically kept.  Two commands can be used to access older error
lists.  They set one of the existing error lists as the current one.

                                                :colder :col E380
:col[der] [count]       Go to older error list.  When [count] is given, do
                        this [count] times.  When already at the oldest error
                        list, an error message is given.

                                                :lolder :lol
:lol[der] [count]       Same as :colder, except use the location list for
                        the current window instead of the quickfix list.

                                                :cnewer :cnew E381
:cnew[er] [count]       Go to newer error list.  When [count] is given, do
                        this [count] times.  When already at the newest error
                        list, an error message is given.

                                                :lnewer :lnew
:lnew[er] [count]       Same as :cnewer, except use the location list for
                        the current window instead of the quickfix list.

                                                :chistory :chi
:chi[story]             Show the list of error lists.  The current list is
                        marked with ">".  The output looks like:
                                  error list 1 of 3; 43 errors
                                > error list 2 of 3; 0 errors
                                  error list 3 of 3; 15 errors

                                                :lhistory :lhi
:lhi[story]             Show the list of location lists, otherwise like

When adding a new error list, it becomes the current list.

When ":colder" has been used and ":make" or ":grep" is used to add a new error
list, one newer list is overwritten.  This is especially useful if you are
browsing with ":grep" grep.  If you want to keep the more recent error
lists, use ":cnewer 99" first.

To get the number of lists in the quickfix and location list stack, you can
use the getqflist() and getloclist() functions respectively with the list
number set to the special value '$'. Examples:
        echo getqflist({'nr' : '$'}).nr
        echo getloclist(3, {'nr' : '$'}).nr
To get the number of the current list in the stack:
        echo getqflist({'nr' : 0}).nr

4. Using :make                                          :make_makeprg

                                                        :mak :make
:mak[e][!] [arguments]  1. All relevant QuickFixCmdPre autocommands are
                        2. If the 'autowrite' option is on, write any changed
                        3. An errorfile name is made from 'makeef'.  If
                           'makeef' doesn't contain "##", and a file with this
                           name already exists, it is deleted.
                        4. The program given with the 'makeprg' option is
                           started (default "make") with the optional
                           [arguments] and the output is saved in the
                           errorfile (for Unix it is also echoed on the
                        5. The errorfile is read using 'errorformat'.
                        6. All relevant QuickFixCmdPost autocommands are
                           executed.  See example below.
                        7. If [!] is not given the first error is jumped to.
                        8. The errorfile is deleted.
                        9. You can now move through the errors with commands
                           like :cnext and :cprevious, see above.
                        This command does not accept a comment, any "
                        characters are considered part of the arguments.
                        If the encoding of the program output differs from the
                        'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding'
                        option to specify the encoding.

                                                        :lmak :lmake
:lmak[e][!] [arguments]
                        Same as ":make", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

The ":make" command executes the command given with the 'makeprg' option.
This is done by passing the command to the shell given with the 'shell'
option.  This works almost like typing

        ":!{makeprg} [arguments] {shellpipe} {errorfile}".

{makeprg} is the string given with the 'makeprg' option.  Any command can be
used, not just "make".  Characters '%' and '#' are expanded as usual on a
command-line.  You can use "%<" to insert the current file name without
extension, or "#<" to insert the alternate file name without extension, for
   :set makeprg=make\ #<.o

[arguments] is anything that is typed after ":make".
{shellpipe} is the 'shellpipe' option.
{errorfile} is the 'makeef' option, with ## replaced to make it unique.

The placeholder "$*" can be used for the argument list in {makeprg} if the
command needs some additional characters after its arguments.  The $* is
replaced then by all arguments.  Example:
   :set makeprg=latex\ \\\\nonstopmode\ \\\\input\\{$*}
or simpler
   :let &mp = 'latex \\nonstopmode \\input\{$*}'
"$*" can be given multiple times, for example:
   :set makeprg=gcc\ -o\ $*\ $*

The 'shellpipe' option defaults to ">" for the Amiga, MS-DOS and Win32.  This
means that the output of the compiler is saved in a file and not shown on the
screen directly.  For Unix "| tee" is used.  The compiler output is shown on
the screen and saved in a file the same time.  Depending on the shell used
"|& tee" or "2>&1| tee" is the default, so stderr output will be included.

If 'shellpipe' is empty, the {errorfile} part will be omitted.  This is useful
for compilers that write to an errorfile themselves (e.g., Manx's Amiga C).

Using QuickFixCmdPost to fix the encoding

It may be that 'encoding' is set to an encoding that differs from the messages
your build program produces.  This example shows how to fix this after Vim has
read the error messages:

        function QfMakeConv()
           let qflist = getqflist()
           for i in qflist
              let i.text = iconv(i.text, "cp936", "utf-8")
           call setqflist(qflist)

        au QuickfixCmdPost make call QfMakeConv()

(Example by Faque Cheng)
Another option is using 'makeencoding'.

5. Using :vimgrep and :grep                             grep lid

Vim has two ways to find matches for a pattern: Internal and external.  The
advantage of the internal grep is that it works on all systems and uses the
powerful Vim search patterns.  An external grep program can be used when the
Vim grep does not do what you want.

The internal method will be slower, because files are read into memory.  The
advantages are:
- Line separators and encoding are automatically recognized, as if a file is
  being edited.
- Uses Vim search patterns.  Multi-line patterns can be used.
- When plugins are enabled: compressed and remote files can be searched.
        gzip netrw

To be able to do this Vim loads each file as if it is being edited.  When
there is no match in the file the associated buffer is wiped out again.  The
'hidden' option is ignored here to avoid running out of memory or file
descriptors when searching many files.  However, when the :hide command
modifier is used the buffers are kept loaded.  This makes following searches
in the same files a lot faster.

Note that :copen (or :lopen for :lgrep) may be used to open a buffer
containing the search results in linked form.  The :silent command may be
used to suppress the default full screen grep output.  The ":grep!" form of
the :grep command doesn't jump to the first match automatically.  These
commands can be combined to create a NewGrep command:

        command! -nargs=+ NewGrep execute 'silent grep! <args>' | copen 42

5.1 using Vim's internal grep

                                        :vim :vimgrep E682 E683
:vim[grep][!] /{pattern}/[g][j] {file} ...
                        Search for {pattern} in the files {file} ... and set
                        the error list to the matches.  Files matching
                        'wildignore' are ignored; files in 'suffixes' are
                        searched last.
                        Without the 'g' flag each line is added only once.
                        With 'g' every match is added.

                        {pattern} is a Vim search pattern.  Instead of
                        enclosing it in / any non-ID character (see
                        'isident') can be used, so long as it does not
                        appear in {pattern}.
                        'ignorecase' applies.  To overrule it put /\c in the
                        pattern to ignore case or /\C to match case.
                        'smartcase' is not used.
                        If {pattern} is empty (e.g. // is specified), the last
                        used search pattern is used. last-pattern
:{count}vim[grep] ...
                        When a number is put before the command this is used
                        as the maximum number of matches to find.  Use
                        ":1vimgrep pattern file" to find only the first.
                        Useful if you only want to check if there is a match
                        and quit quickly when it's found.

                        Without the 'j' flag Vim jumps to the first match.
                        With 'j' only the quickfix list is updated.
                        With the [!] any changes in the current buffer are

                        Every second or so the searched file name is displayed
                        to give you an idea of the progress made.
                                :vimgrep /an error/ *.c
                                :vimgrep /\<FileName\>/ *.h include/*
                                :vimgrep /myfunc/ **/*.c
                        For the use of "**" see starstar-wildcard.

:vim[grep][!] {pattern} {file} ...
                        Like above, but instead of enclosing the pattern in a
                        non-ID character use a white-separated pattern.  The
                        pattern must start with an ID character.
                                :vimgrep Error *.c

                                                        :lv :lvimgrep
:lv[imgrep][!] /{pattern}/[g][j] {file} ...
:lv[imgrep][!] {pattern} {file} ...
                        Same as ":vimgrep", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                :vimgrepa :vimgrepadd
:vimgrepa[dd][!] /{pattern}/[g][j] {file} ...
:vimgrepa[dd][!] {pattern} {file} ...
                        Just like ":vimgrep", but instead of making a new list
                        of errors the matches are appended to the current

                                                :lvimgrepa :lvimgrepadd
:lvimgrepa[dd][!] /{pattern}/[g][j] {file} ...
:lvimgrepa[dd][!] {pattern} {file} ...
                        Same as ":vimgrepadd", except the location list for
                        the current window is used instead of the quickfix

5.2 External grep

Vim can interface with "grep" and grep-like programs (such as the GNU
id-utils) in a similar way to its compiler integration (see :make above).

[Unix trivia: The name for the Unix "grep" command comes from ":g/re/p", where
"re" stands for Regular Expression.]

                                                            :gr :grep
:gr[ep][!] [arguments]  Just like ":make", but use 'grepprg' instead of
                        'makeprg' and 'grepformat' instead of 'errorformat'.
                        When 'grepprg' is "internal" this works like
                        :vimgrep.  Note that the pattern needs to be
                        enclosed in separator characters then.
                        If the encoding of the program output differs from the
                        'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding'
                        option to specify the encoding.

                                                            :lgr :lgrep
:lgr[ep][!] [arguments] Same as ":grep", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

                                                        :grepa :grepadd
:grepa[dd][!] [arguments]
                        Just like ":grep", but instead of making a new list of
                        errors the matches are appended to the current list.
                                :call setqflist([])
                                :bufdo grepadd! something %
                        The first command makes a new error list which is
                        empty.  The second command executes "grepadd" for each
                        listed buffer.  Note the use of ! to avoid that
                        ":grepadd" jumps to the first error, which is not
                        allowed with :bufdo.
                        An example that uses the argument list and avoids
                        errors for files without matches:
                                :silent argdo try 
                                  \ | grepadd! something %
                                  \ | catch /E480:/
                                  \ | endtry"

                        If the encoding of the program output differs from the
                        'encoding' option, you can use the 'makeencoding'
                        option to specify the encoding.

                                                        :lgrepa :lgrepadd
:lgrepa[dd][!] [arguments]
                        Same as ":grepadd", except the location list for the
                        current window is used instead of the quickfix list.

5.3 Setting up external grep

If you have a standard "grep" program installed, the :grep command may work
well with the defaults.  The syntax is very similar to the standard command:

        :grep foo *.c

Will search all files with the .c extension for the substring "foo".  The
arguments to :grep are passed straight to the "grep" program, so you can use
whatever options your "grep" supports.

By default, :grep invokes grep with the -n option (show file and line
numbers).  You can change this with the 'grepprg' option.  You will need to set
'grepprg' if:

a)      You are using a program that isn't called "grep"
b)      You have to call grep with a full path
c)      You want to pass other options automatically (e.g. case insensitive

Once "grep" has executed, Vim parses the results using the 'grepformat'
option.  This option works in the same way as the 'errorformat' option - see
that for details.  You may need to change 'grepformat' from the default if
your grep outputs in a non-standard format, or you are using some other
program with a special format.

Once the results are parsed, Vim loads the first file containing a match and
jumps to the appropriate line, in the same way that it jumps to a compiler
error in quickfix mode.  You can then use the :cnext:clist, etc.
commands to see the other matches.

5.4 Using :grep with id-utils

You can set up :grep to work with the GNU id-utils like this:

        :set grepprg=lid\ -Rgrep\ -s
        :set grepformat=%f:%l:%m

        :grep (regexp)

works just as you'd expect.
(provided you remembered to mkid first :)

5.5 Browsing source code with :vimgrep or :grep

Using the stack of error lists that Vim keeps, you can browse your files to
look for functions and the functions they call.  For example, suppose that you
have to add an argument to the read_file() function.  You enter this command:

        :vimgrep /\<read_file\>/ *.c

You use ":cn" to go along the list of matches and add the argument.  At one
place you have to get the new argument from a higher level function msg(), and
need to change that one too.  Thus you use:

        :vimgrep /\<msg\>/ *.c

While changing the msg() functions, you find another function that needs to
get the argument from a higher level.  You can again use ":vimgrep" to find
these functions.  Once you are finished with one function, you can use


to go back to the previous one.

This works like browsing a tree: ":vimgrep" goes one level deeper, creating a
list of branches.  ":colder" goes back to the previous level.  You can mix
this use of ":vimgrep" and "colder" to browse all the locations in a tree-like
way.  If you do this consistently, you will find all locations without the
need to write down a "todo" list.

6. Selecting a compiler                                 compiler-select

                                                :comp :compiler E666
:comp[iler][!] {name}           Set options to work with compiler {name}.
                                Without the "!" options are set for the
                                current buffer.  With "!" global options are
                                If you use ":compiler foo" in "" and
                                then ":compiler! bar" in another buffer, Vim
                                will keep on using "foo" in "".
                                {not available when compiled without the
                                +eval feature}

The Vim plugins in the "compiler" directory will set options to use the
selected compiler.  For :compiler local options are set, for :compiler!
global options.
To support older Vim versions, the plugins always use "current_compiler" and
not "b:current_compiler".  What the command actually does is the following:

- Delete the "current_compiler" and "b:current_compiler" variables.
- Define the "CompilerSet" user command.  With "!" it does ":set", without "!"
  it does ":setlocal".
- Execute ":runtime! compiler/{name}.vim".  The plugins are expected to set
  options with "CompilerSet" and set the "current_compiler" variable to the
  name of the compiler.
- Delete the "CompilerSet" user command.
- Set "b:current_compiler" to the value of "current_compiler".
- Without "!" the old value of "current_compiler" is restored.

For writing a compiler plugin, see write-compiler-plugin.

GCC                                     quickfix-gcc  compiler-gcc

There's one variable you can set for the GCC compiler:

                                Ignore lines that don't match any patterns
                                defined for GCC.  Useful if output from
                                commands run from make are generating false

MANX AZTEC C                            quickfix-manx compiler-manx

To use Vim with Manx's Aztec C compiler on the Amiga you should do the
- Set the CCEDIT environment variable with the command:
        mset "CCEDIT=vim -q"
- Compile with the -qf option.  If the compiler finds any errors, Vim is
  started and the cursor is positioned on the first error.  The error message
  will be displayed on the last line.  You can go to other errors with the
  commands mentioned above.  You can fix the errors and write the file(s).
- If you exit Vim normally the compiler will re-compile the same file.  If you
  exit with the :cq command, the compiler will terminate.  Do this if you
  cannot fix the error, or if another file needs to be compiled first.

There are some restrictions to the Quickfix mode on the Amiga.  The
compiler only writes the first 25 errors to the errorfile (Manx's
documentation does not say how to get more).  If you want to find the others,
you will have to fix a few errors and exit the editor.  After recompiling,
up to 25 remaining errors will be found.

If Vim was started from the compiler, the :sh and some :!  commands will not
work, because Vim is then running in the same process as the compiler and
stdin (standard input) will not be interactive.

PERL                                    quickfix-perl compiler-perl

The Perl compiler plugin doesn't actually compile, but invokes Perl's internal
syntax checking feature and parses the output for possible errors so you can
correct them in quick-fix mode.

Warnings are forced regardless of "no warnings" or "$^W = 0" within the file
being checked.  To disable this set g:perl_compiler_force_warnings to a zero
value.  For example:
        let g:perl_compiler_force_warnings = 0

PYUNIT COMPILER                                         compiler-pyunit

This is not actually a compiler, but a unit testing framework for the
Python language.  It is included into standard Python distribution
starting from version 2.0.  For older versions, you can get it from

When you run your tests with the help of the framework, possible errors
are parsed by Vim and presented for you in quick-fix mode.

Unfortunately, there is no standard way to run the tests.
The script seems to be used quite often, that's all.
Useful values for the 'makeprg' options therefore are:
 setlocal makeprg=./ " Run a testsuite
 setlocal makeprg=python\ %:S   " Run a single testcase

Also see

TEX COMPILER                                            compiler-tex

Included in the distribution compiler for TeX ($VIMRUNTIME/compiler/tex.vim)
uses make command if possible.  If the compiler finds a file named "Makefile"
or "makefile" in the current directory, it supposes that you want to process
your *TeX files with make, and the makefile does the right work.  In this case
compiler sets 'errorformat' for *TeX output and leaves 'makeprg' untouched.  If
neither "Makefile" nor "makefile" is found, the compiler will not use make.
You can force the compiler to ignore makefiles by defining
b:tex_ignore_makefile or g:tex_ignore_makefile variable (they are checked for
existence only).

If the compiler chose not to use make, it need to choose a right program for
processing your input.  If b:tex_flavor or g:tex_flavor (in this precedence)
variable exists, it defines TeX flavor for :make (actually, this is the name
of executed command), and if both variables do not exist, it defaults to
"latex".  For example, while editing chapter2.tex \input-ed from mypaper.tex
written in AMS-TeX:

        :let b:tex_flavor = 'amstex'
        :compiler tex
        :make mypaper

Note that you must specify a name of the file to process as an argument (to
process the right file when editing \input-ed or \include-ed file; portable
solution for substituting % for no arguments is welcome).  This is not in the
semantics of make, where you specify a target, not source, but you may specify
filename without extension ".tex" and mean this as "make filename.dvi or
filename.pdf or filename.some_result_extension according to compiler".

Note: tex command line syntax is set to usable both for MikTeX (suggestion
by Srinath Avadhanula) and teTeX (checked by Artem Chuprina).  Suggestion
from errorformat-LaTeX is too complex to keep it working for different
shells and OSes and also does not allow to use other available TeX options,
if any.  If your TeX doesn't support "-interaction=nonstopmode", please
report it with different means to express \nonstopmode from the command line.

7. The error format                                     error-file-format

                                        errorformat E372 E373 E374
                                                E375 E376 E377 E378
The 'errorformat' option specifies a list of formats that are recognized.  The
first format that matches with an error message is used.  You can add several
formats for different messages your compiler produces, or even entries for
multiple compilers.  See efm-entries.

Each entry in 'errorformat' is a scanf-like string that describes the format.
First, you need to know how scanf works.  Look in the documentation of your
C compiler.  Below you find the % items that Vim understands.  Others are

Special characters in 'errorformat' are comma and backslash.  See
efm-entries for how to deal with them.  Note that a literal "%" is matched
by "%%", thus it is not escaped with a backslash.
Keep in mind that in the :make and :grep output all NUL characters are
replaced with SOH (0x01).

Note: By default the difference between upper and lowercase is ignored.  If
you want to match case, add "\C" to the pattern /\C.

Basic items

        %f              file name (finds a string)
        %o              module name (finds a string)
        %l              line number (finds a number)
        %c              column number (finds a number representing character
                        column of the error, (1 <tab> == 1 character column))
        %v              virtual column number (finds a number representing
                        screen column of the error (1 <tab> == 8 screen
        %t              error type (finds a single character)
        %n              error number (finds a number)
        %m              error message (finds a string)
        %r              matches the "rest" of a single-line file message %O/P/Q
        %p              pointer line (finds a sequence of '-', '.', ' ' or
                        tabs and uses the length for the column number)
        %*{conv}        any scanf non-assignable conversion
        %%              the single '%' character
        %s              search text (finds a string)

The "%f" conversion may depend on the current 'isfname' setting.  "~/" is
expanded to the home directory and environment variables are expanded.

The "%f" and "%m" conversions have to detect the end of the string.  This
normally happens by matching following characters and items.  When nothing is
following the rest of the line is matched.  If "%f" is followed by a '%' or a
backslash, it will look for a sequence of 'isfname' characters.

On MS-DOS, MS-Windows and OS/2 a leading "C:" will be included in "%f", even
when using "%f:".  This means that a file name which is a single alphabetical
letter will not be detected.

The "%p" conversion is normally followed by a "^".  It's used for compilers
that output a line like:
to indicate the column of the error.  This is to be used in a multi-line error
message.  See errorformat-javac for a  useful example.

The "%s" conversion specifies the text to search for, to locate the error line.
The text is used as a literal string.  The anchors "^" and "$" are added to
the text to locate the error line exactly matching the search text and the
text is prefixed with the "\V" atom to make it "very nomagic".  The "%s"
conversion can be used to locate lines without a line number in the error
output.  Like the output of the "grep" shell command.
When the pattern is present the line number will not be used.

The "%o" conversion specifies the module name in quickfix entry.  If present
it will be used in quickfix error window instead of the filename.  The module
name is used only for displaying purposes, the file name is used when jumping
to the file.

Changing directory

The following uppercase conversion characters specify the type of special
format strings.  At most one of them may be given as a prefix at the beginning
of a single comma-separated format pattern.
Some compilers produce messages that consist of directory names that have to
be prepended to each file name read by %f (example: GNU make).  The following
codes can be used to scan these directory names; they will be stored in an
internal directory stack.                                       E379
        %D              "enter directory" format string; expects a following
                          %f that finds the directory name
        %X              "leave directory" format string; expects following %f

When defining an "enter directory" or "leave directory" format, the "%D" or
"%X" has to be given at the start of that substring.  Vim tracks the directory
changes and prepends the current directory to each erroneous file found with a
relative path.  See quickfix-directory-stack for details, tips and

Multi-line messages                             errorformat-multi-line

It is possible to read the output of programs that produce multi-line
messages, i.e. error strings that consume more than one line.  Possible
prefixes are:
        %E              start of a multi-line error message
        %W              start of a multi-line warning message
        %I              start of a multi-line informational message
        %A              start of a multi-line message (unspecified type)
        %>              for next line start with current pattern again efm-%>
        %C              continuation of a multi-line message
        %Z              end of a multi-line message
These can be used with '+' and '-', see efm-ignore below.

Using "\n" in the pattern won't work to match multi-line messages.

Example: Your compiler happens to write out errors in the following format
(leading line numbers not being part of the actual output):

     1  Error 275
     2  line 42
     3  column 3
     4  ' ' expected after '--'

The appropriate error format string has to look like this:
   :set efm=%EError\ %n,%Cline\ %l,%Ccolumn\ %c,%Z%m

And the :clist error message generated for this error is:

 1:42 col 3 error 275:  ' ' expected after '--'

Another example: Think of a Python interpreter that produces the following
error message (line numbers are not part of the actual output):

     1  ==============================================================
     2  FAIL: testGetTypeIdCachesResult (dbfacadeTest.DjsDBFacadeTest)
     3  --------------------------------------------------------------
     4  Traceback (most recent call last):
     5    File "unittests/", line 89, in testFoo
     6      self.assertEquals(34, dtid)
     7    File "/usr/lib/python2.2/", line 286, in
     8   failUnlessEqual
     9      raise self.failureException, \
    10  AssertionError: 34 != 33
    12  --------------------------------------------------------------
    13  Ran 27 tests in 0.063s

Say you want :clist write the relevant information of this message only,
 5 unittests/  AssertionError: 34 != 33

Then the error format string could be defined as follows:
  :set efm=%C\ %.%#,%A\ \ File\ \"%f\"\\,\ line\ %l%.%#,%Z%[%^\ ]%\\@=%m

Note that the %C string is given before the %A here: since the expression
' %.%#' (which stands for the regular expression ' .*') matches every line
starting with a space, followed by any characters to the end of the line,
it also hides line 7 which would trigger a separate error message otherwise.
Error format strings are always parsed pattern by pattern until the first
match occurs.
The %> item can be used to avoid trying patterns that appear earlier in
'errorformat'.  This is useful for patterns that match just about anything.
For example, if the error looks like this:

        Error in line 123 of foo.c:
        unknown variable "i"

This can be found with:
        :set efm=xxx,%E%>Error in line %l of %f:,%Z%m
Where "xxx" has a pattern that would also match the second line.

Important: There is no memory of what part of the errorformat matched before;
every line in the error file gets a complete new run through the error format
lines.  For example, if one has:
  setlocal efm=aa,bb,cc,dd,ee
Where aa, bb, etc. are error format strings.  Each line of the error file will
be matched to the pattern aa, then bb, then cc, etc.  Just because cc matched
the previous error line does _not_ mean that dd will be tried first on the
current line, even if cc and dd are multi-line errorformat strings.

Separate file name                      errorformat-separate-filename

These prefixes are useful if the file name is given once and multiple messages
follow that refer to this file name.
        %O              single-line file message: overread the matched part
        %P              single-line file message: push file %f onto the stack
        %Q              single-line file message: pop the last file from stack

Example: Given a compiler that produces the following error logfile (without
leading line numbers):

     1  []
     2  (1,17)  error: ';' missing
     3  (21,2)  warning: variable 'z' not defined
     4  (67,3)  error: end of file found before string ended
     6  []
     8  []
     9  NEW compiler v1.1
    10  (2,2)   warning: variable 'x' not defined
    11  (67,3)  warning: 's' already defined

This logfile lists several messages for each file enclosed in [...] which are
properly parsed by an error format like this:
  :set efm=%+P[%f],(%l\\,%c)%*[\ ]%t%*[^:]:\ %m,%-Q

A call of :clist writes them accordingly with their correct filenames:

  2 col 17 error: ';' missing
  3 col 2 warning: variable 'z' not defined
  4 col 3 error: end of file found before string ended
  8 col 2 warning: variable 'x' not defined
  9 col 3 warning: 's' already defined

Unlike the other prefixes that all match against whole lines, %P, %Q and %O
can be used to match several patterns in the same line.  Thus it is possible
to parse even nested files like in the following line:
  {"file1" {"file2" error1} error2 {"file3" error3 {"file4" error4 error5}}}
The %O then parses over strings that do not contain any push/pop file name
information.  See errorformat-LaTeX for an extended example.

Ignoring and using whole messages                       efm-ignore

The codes '+' or '-' can be combined with the uppercase codes above; in that
case they have to precede the letter, e.g. '%+A' or '%-G':
        %-              do not include the matching multi-line in any output
        %+              include the whole matching line in the %m error string

One prefix is only useful in combination with '+' or '-', namely %G.  It parses
over lines containing general information like compiler version strings or
other headers that can be skipped.
        %-G             ignore this message
        %+G             general message

Pattern matching

The scanf()-like "%*[]" notation is supported for backward-compatibility
with previous versions of Vim.  However, it is also possible to specify
(nearly) any Vim supported regular expression in format strings.
Since meta characters of the regular expression language can be part of
ordinary matching strings or file names (and therefore internally have to
be escaped), meta symbols have to be written with leading '%':
        %\              The single '\' character.  Note that this has to be
                        escaped ("%\\") in ":set errorformat=" definitions.
        %.              The single '.' character.
        %#              The single '*'(!) character.
        %^              The single '^' character.  Note that this is not
                        useful, the pattern already matches start of line.
        %$              The single '$' character.  Note that this is not
                        useful, the pattern already matches end of line.
        %[              The single '[' character for a [] character range.
        %~              The single '~' character.
When using character classes in expressions (see /\i for an overview),
terms containing the "\+" quantifier can be written in the scanf() "%*"
notation.  Example: "%\\d%\\+" ("\d\+", "any number") is equivalent to "%*\\d".
Important note: The \(...\) grouping of sub-matches can not be used in format
specifications because it is reserved for internal conversions.

Multiple entries in 'errorformat'                       efm-entries

To be able to detect output from several compilers, several format patterns
may be put in 'errorformat', separated by commas (note: blanks after the comma
are ignored).  The first pattern that has a complete match is used.  If no
match is found, matching parts from the last one will be used, although the
file name is removed and the error message is set to the whole message.  If
there is a pattern that may match output from several compilers (but not in a
right way), put it after one that is more restrictive.

To include a comma in a pattern precede it with a backslash (you have to type
two in a ":set" command).  To include a backslash itself give two backslashes
(you have to type four in a ":set" command).  You also need to put a backslash
before a space for ":set".

Valid matches                                           quickfix-valid

If a line does not completely match one of the entries in 'errorformat', the
whole line is put in the error message and the entry is marked "not valid"
These lines are skipped with the ":cn" and ":cp" commands (unless there is
no valid line at all).  You can use ":cl!" to display all the error messages.

If the error format does not contain a file name Vim cannot switch to the
correct file.  You will have to do this by hand.


The format of the file from the Amiga Aztec compiler is:


        filename        name of the file in which the error was detected
        linenumber      line number where the error was detected
        columnnumber    column number where the error was detected
        errortype       type of the error, normally a single 'E' or 'W'
        errornumber     number of the error (for lookup in the manual)
        errormessage    description of the error

This can be matched with this 'errorformat' entry:

Some examples for C compilers that produce single-line error outputs:
%f:%l:\ %t%*[^0123456789]%n:\ %m        for Manx/Aztec C error messages
                                        (scanf() doesn't understand [0-9])
%f\ %l\ %t%*[^0-9]%n:\ %m               for SAS C
\"%f\"\\,%*[^0-9]%l:\ %m                for generic C compilers
%f:%l:\ %m                              for GCC
%f:%l:\ %m,%Dgmake[%*\\d]:\ Entering\ directory\ `%f',
%Dgmake[%*\\d]:\ Leaving\ directory\ `%f'
                                        for GCC with gmake (concat the lines!)
%f(%l)\ :\ %*[^:]:\ %m                  old SCO C compiler (pre-OS5)
%f(%l)\ :\ %t%*[^0-9]%n:\ %m            idem, with error type and number
%f:%l:\ %m,In\ file\ included\ from\ %f:%l:,\^I\^Ifrom\ %f:%l%m
                                        for GCC, with some extras

Extended examples for the handling of multi-line messages are given below,
see errorformat-Jikes and errorformat-LaTeX.

Note the backslash in front of a space and double quote.  It is required for
the :set command.  There are two backslashes in front of a comma, one for the
:set command and one to avoid recognizing the comma as a separator of error

Filtering messages

If you have a compiler that produces error messages that do not fit in the
format string, you could write a program that translates the error messages
into this format.  You can use this program with the ":make" command by
changing the 'makeprg' option.  For example:
   :set mp=make\ \\\|&\ error_filter
The backslashes before the pipe character are required to avoid it to be
recognized as a command separator.  The backslash before each space is
required for the set command.

                                    cfilter-plugin :Cfilter :Lfilter
If you have too many matching messages, you can use the cfilter plugin to
reduce the number of entries.  Load the plugin with:
   packadd cfilter

Then you can use these command:
   :Cfilter[!] /{pat}/
   :Lfilter[!] /{pat}/

:Cfilter creates a new quickfix list from entries matching {pat} in the
current quickfix list. Both the file name and the text of the entries are
matched against {pat}. If ! is supplied, then entries not matching {pat} are

:Lfilter does the same as :Cfilter but operates on the current location list.

8. The directory stack                          quickfix-directory-stack

Quickfix maintains a stack for saving all used directories parsed from the
make output.  For GNU-make this is rather simple, as it always prints the
absolute path of all directories it enters and leaves.  Regardless if this is
done via a 'cd' command in the makefile or with the parameter "-C dir" (change
to directory before reading the makefile).  It may be useful to use the switch
"-w" to force GNU-make to print out the working directory before and after

Maintaining the correct directory is more complicated if you don't use
GNU-make.  AIX-make for example doesn't print any information about its
working directory.  Then you need to enhance the makefile.  In the makefile of
LessTif there is a command which echoes "Making {target} in {dir}".  The
special problem here is that it doesn't print information on leaving the
directory and that it doesn't print the absolute path.

To solve the problem with relative paths and missing "leave directory"
messages Vim uses following algorithm:

1) Check if the given directory is a subdirectory of the current directory.
   If this is true, store it as the current directory.
2) If it is not a subdir of the current directory, try if this is a
   subdirectory of one of the upper directories.
3) If the directory still isn't found, it is assumed to be a subdirectory
   of Vim's current directory.

Additionally it is checked for every file, if it really exists in the
identified directory.  If not, it is searched in all other directories of the
directory stack (NOT the directory subtree!).  If it is still not found, it is
assumed that it is in Vim's current directory.

There are limitations in this algorithm.  These examples assume that make just
prints information about entering a directory in the form "Making all in dir".

1) Assume you have following directories and files:

   If make processes the directory "./dir1" before the current directory and
   there is an error in the file "./file1.c", you will end up with the file
   "./dir1/file.c" loaded by Vim.

   This can only be solved with a "leave directory" message.

2) Assume you have following directories and files:

   You get the following:

   Make output                    Directory interpreted by Vim
   ------------------------       ----------------------------
   Making all in dir1             ./dir1
   Making all in dir2             ./dir1/dir2
   Making all in dir2             ./dir1/dir2

   This can be solved by printing absolute directories in the "enter directory"
   message or by printing "leave directory" messages.

To avoid this problem, ensure to print absolute directory names and "leave
directory" messages.

Examples for Makefiles:

            for dn in $(LIBDIRS); do                            \
                (cd $$dn; echo "Entering dir '$$(pwd)'"; make); \
                echo "Leaving dir";                             \

    %DEntering\ dir\ '%f',%XLeaving\ dir
to your 'errorformat' to handle the above output.

Note that Vim doesn't check if the directory name in a "leave directory"
messages is the current directory.  This is why you could just use the message
"Leaving dir".

9. Specific error file formats                  errorformats

Jikes(TM), a source-to-bytecode Java compiler published by IBM Research,
produces simple multi-line error messages.

An 'errorformat' string matching the produced messages is shown below.
The following lines can be placed in the user's vimrc to overwrite Vim's
recognized default formats, or see :set+= how to install this format
additionally to the default.

  :set efm=%A%f:%l:%c:%*\\d:%*\\d:,

Jikes(TM) produces a single-line error message when invoked with the option
"+E", and can be matched with the following:

  :setl efm=%f:%l:%v:%*\\d:%*\\d:%*\\s%m

This 'errorformat' has been reported to work well for javac, which outputs a
line with "^" to indicate the column of the error:
  :setl efm=%A%f:%l:\ %m,%-Z%p^,%-C%.%#
  :setl efm=%A%f:%l:\ %m,%+Z%p^,%+C%.%#,%-G%.%#

Here is an alternative from Michael F. Lamb for Unix that filters the errors
  :setl errorformat=%Z%f:%l:\ %m,%A%p^,%-G%*[^sl]%.%#
  :setl makeprg=javac\ %:S\ 2>&1\ \\\|\ vim-javac-filter

You need to put the following in "vim-javac-filter" somewhere in your path
(e.g., in ~/bin) and make it executable:
   #!/bin/sed -f
   /\^$/s/\t/\ /g;/:[0-9]\+:/{h;d};/^[ \t]*\^/G;

In English, that sed script:
- Changes single tabs to single spaces and
- Moves the line with the filename, line number, error message to just after
  the pointer line. That way, the unused error text between doesn't break
  vim's notion of a "multi-line message" and also doesn't force us to include
  it as a "continuation of a multi-line message."

For ant ( the above errorformat has to be modified
to honour the leading [javac] in front of each javac output line:
  :set efm=%A\ %#[javac]\ %f:%l:\ %m,%-Z\ %#[javac]\ %p^,%-C%.%#

The 'errorformat' can also be configured to handle ant together with either
javac or jikes.  If you're using jikes, you should tell ant to use jikes' +E
command line switch which forces jikes to generate one-line error messages.
This is what the second line (of a build.xml file) below does:
  <property name = "build.compiler"       value = "jikes"/>
  <property name = "build.compiler.emacs" value = "true"/>

The 'errorformat' which handles ant with both javac and jikes is:
  :set efm=\ %#[javac]\ %#%f:%l:%c:%*\\d:%*\\d:\ %t%[%^:]%#:%m,
           \%A\ %#[javac]\ %f:%l:\ %m,%-Z\ %#[javac]\ %p^,%-C%.%#

parsing jade (see errors is simple:
  :set efm=jade:%f:%l:%c:%t:%m

The following is an example how an 'errorformat' string can be specified
for the (La)TeX typesetting system which displays error messages over
multiple lines.  The output of ":clist" and ":cc" etc. commands displays
multi-lines in a single line, leading white space is removed.
It should be easy to adopt the above LaTeX errorformat to any compiler output
consisting of multi-line errors.

The commands can be placed in a vimrc file or some other Vim script file,
e.g. a script containing LaTeX related stuff which is loaded only when editing
LaTeX sources.
Make sure to copy all lines of the example (in the given order), afterwards
remove the comment lines.  For the '\' notation at the start of some lines see

                First prepare 'makeprg' such that LaTeX will report multiple
                errors; do not stop when the first error has occurred:
 :set makeprg=latex\ \\\\nonstopmode\ \\\\input\\{$*}

                Start of multi-line error messages:
 :set efm=%E!\ LaTeX\ %trror:\ %m,
        \%E!\ %m,
                Start of multi-line warning messages; the first two also
                include the line number.  Meaning of some regular expressions:
                  - "%.%#"  (".*")   matches a (possibly empty) string
                  - "%*\\d" ("\d\+") matches a number
        \%+WLaTeX\ %.%#Warning:\ %.%#line\ %l%.%#,
        \%+W%.%#\ at\ lines\ %l--%*\\d,
        \%WLaTeX\ %.%#Warning:\ %m,
                Possible continuations of error/warning messages; the first
                one also includes the line number:
        \%Cl.%l\ %m,
        \%+C\ \ %m.,
        \%C\ \ %m,
                Lines that match the following patterns do not contain any
                important information; do not include them in messages:
        \%-GSee\ the\ LaTeX%m,
        \%-GType\ \ H\ <return>%m,
        \%-G\ ...%.%#,
        \%-G%.%#\ (C)\ %.%#,
        \%-G(see\ the\ transcript%.%#),
                Generally exclude any empty or whitespace-only line from
                being displayed:
                The LaTeX output log does not specify the names of erroneous
                source files per line; rather they are given globally,
                enclosed in parentheses.
                The following patterns try to match these names and store
                them in an internal stack.  The patterns possibly scan over
                the same input line (one after another), the trailing "%r"
                conversion indicates the "rest" of the line that will be
                parsed in the next go until the end of line is reached.

                Overread a file name enclosed in '('...')'; do not push it
                on a stack since the file apparently does not contain any
                Push a file name onto the stack.  The name is given after '(':
        \%+P\ %\\=(%f%r,
                Pop the last stored file name when a ')' is scanned:

Note that in some cases file names in the LaTeX output log cannot be parsed
properly.  The parser might have been messed up by unbalanced parentheses
then.  The above example tries to catch the most relevant cases only.
You can customize the given setting to suit your own purposes, for example,
all the annoying "Overfull ..." warnings could be excluded from being
recognized as an error.
Alternatively to filtering the LaTeX compiler output, it is also possible
to directly read the *.log file that is produced by the [La]TeX compiler.
This contains even more useful information about possible error causes.
However, to properly parse such a complex file, an external filter should
be used.  See the description further above how to make such a filter known
by Vim.

In $VIMRUNTIME/tools you can find the script, which filters Perl
error messages into a format that quickfix mode will understand.  See the
start of the file about how to use it.  (This script is deprecated, see