Configuration sharing with Dropbox, Part 1: VIM

1 minute read


This article explains how to easily share your .vimrc and all the plugins, color schemes, and syntax highlighters that you use between all your workstations.

If you haven’t done so already, please read Part 0 first. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

One-time set-up

First, let’s set up a VIM folder in your Dropbox:

  • Create a folder called vim inside your ~/Dropbox/config.
  • Copy your existing .vimrc file to this folder, and rename it to vimrc.vim so the file doesn’t get hidden if you’re on OS X or Linux.
  • Copy the entire contents of your ~./vimrc folder into this new folder.
    Note! If you use the Command-T plugin, take care not to copy anything related to that. These are native, platform-dependent files, and can’t be shared, unfortunately.
  • Add a file called vimrc.local to the folder, with the following contents:
  if has('win32') || has('win64')
    set runtimepath^=$HOME/Dropbox/config/vim
    source ~\Dropbox\config\vim\vimrc.vim
    set runtimepath^=~/Dropbox/config/vim
    source ~/Dropbox/config/vim/vimrc.vim

Per machine set-up

Next, for each of your computers, you should do the following things.

  • First of all, if you want to use the excellent Command-T plugin, go ahead and install that first. It needs to compile stuff to native code, so unfortunately, it’s not portable across machines.
  • Next, copy config/vim/vimrc.local from your Dropbox.
    • On Linux and OS X, move it to ~/.vimrc.
    • On Windows XP,move it to C:\Documents and Settings\[your username]\_vimrc.
    • On Windows 7, move it to C:\Users\[your username]\_vimrc.
  • From now on, ~/Dropbox/config/vim/vimrc.vim is your master .vimrc file. You can make all your changes there.
  • If you find any external plugins, color schemes, or syntax highlighters on the Vim Tips Wiki, just drop them into ~/Dropbox/config/vim where otherwise you would have dropped them into ~/.vim.

That’s it!