vim, screen, and bracketed paste mode

A little while back an update was introduced, somewhere, that has been driving me nuts.  I didn’t record exactly when it happened or what changed.  I suppose it doesn’t matter now.

The behavior wasn’t easy to pin down at first since it was the confluence of several things: 1) pasting 2) into vim while 3) using a non-xterm terminal like mate-terminal and 4) inside a screen session.

The behavior exhibits in several ways:

  • Pastes appear to be incomplete, or (more correctly) some number of characters at the beginning of the paste go “missing” and actually become commands to vim
  • Pastes are complete but they’re bracketed with \e[200~content\e[201~
    • some people report 0~content1~ instead, but it appears to be the same phenomenon

What’s going on?  It’s a feature called “bracketed paste mode”.  You can google it read up on it, it has some utility.  As far as I can tell it’s related to readline.  But more importantly, there is a fix.

Add this to your ~/.vimrc:

" fix bracketed paste mode
if &term =~ "screen"
  let &t_BE = "\e[?2004h"
  let &t_BD = "\e[?2004l"
  exec "set t_PS=\e[200~"
  exec "set t_PE=\e[201~"


Vim and tabs

At work, we use vim for our editing needs – which, as programmers, means we spend our day in vim.

We have a lot of mixed-format code – sometimes it has tabs, sometimes it has spaces.  Personally, I prefer spaces for my indenting, but I’m a convert to the church of make-your-code-match-the-existing-code.  As opposed to reformatting the existing code, which is soooo irresistible until you’re faced with a mountain.

So, I have to switch back and forth a lot.  Here, for the sake of posterity, is how to switch from spaces to tabs on-the-fly in vim:

:set noexpandtab
:set copyindent
:set preserveindent
:set softtabstop=0
:set shiftwidth=4
:set tabstop=4