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Using Different Color Schemes with Vim


If you have been using the Linux console text editor vim (or: Vi IMproved), you have probably noticed already that at times - especially in files with a large amount of comments - the default color scheme on a black background is less than ideal. Dark blue on black is pretty hard to read and can strain the eyes a lot.

So today I went out to see if somebody had come up with a solution for this particular problem. I saw people who changed console colors by exporting and overwriting certain system variables, and others who edited the default color scheme.

The simplest solution I have found to this problem is just switching the color scheme. You can do that by typing the following in the already open vim session:

:colorscheme desert

where desert is just an example for the scheme of choice. Desert - for me - has just the right color for comments: aquamarine / light blue.

If you are satisfied with the scheme and would like it to be applied each time you launch vim, you can just edit /etc/vim/vimrc (or in my case with CentOS: /etc/vimrc) and add the following line:

colorscheme desert

with desert again, of course, being the chosen color scheme. This would apply this setting automatically for each vim instance that is launched system-wide. If you do not have access to the system-wide preferences or prefer just using it for your own user account, edit the ~/.vimrc instead.

The blog entry I got this tip from (Asher's space) has further instructions on how to edit existing color schemes and even a link to a blog post that explains how to edit the dark blue color for directories in ls listings with color, but I did not feel the need to go that far. If you are interested in that topic I can only encourage you to visit the original post.

Thanks for reading!

Update (2012-01-04):
Okay, looks like pingback isn't working, so here's a direct link to the original blog post:
vi code highlighting: change the default comments color from dark blue to light blue (

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