VimOutliner Windows installation howto

VimOutliner is a plugin that turns Vim into an outliner.  It’s cross-platform.  However, installing it on Windows can be challenging.  My customized version of the plugin should make it a breeze.

Vim Outline

Why VimOutliner?

  1. Vi lovers, this is probably the only reason that you need.  All your Vi keystrokes work in VimOutliner as they would in Vim.  Need I say more?
  2. Vim is free, and VimOutliner is also free.  You can have access to a powerful outliner on any of your computers without paying a penny.
  3. Vim/VimOutliner is cross-platform.  Whether you are using MacOS, Windows, Linux or some other variant of Unix (even Cygwin!), you can have the same outliner on every platform.
  4. VimOutliner files are simple text files that rely on indentation to indicate the level of nesting.  Therefore, the outline files can be viewed using any text editor (not just Vim).  Using Vim with the VimOutliner plugin provides added features like folding, checkboxes, hoisting, and percentage done (just to name a few).
  5. VimOutliner can run over an SSH session.  Since Vim can run at the console, VimOutliner inherits this ability.  There’s no need to initiate a Remote Desktop connection or leverage VNC, VimOutliner is text-based so an SSH session is all you need.
  6. With complete access to the plugin’s source code, you can modify VimOutliner to meet your needs and do whatever you think an outliner should do.

Installation howto

My customized version of VimOutliner 3.4 provides a straight-forward installation that works on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.  I’ve only tested it on Vim 7.2.  If you run into issues using with other versions of Vim, please let me know or post a comment.

  1. Download
  2. Extract it in C:Program FilesVim.
  3. This will create a C:Program FilesVimvimfiles directory (if it doesn’t already exist).  In addition, this puts the required plugin files in the correct directories.
  4. Add to the C:Program FilesVim_vimrc file the following lines:
filetype plugin indent on
syntax on
runtime! ftdetect*.vim

My customizations

These customizations are already integrated into my zip file.  If you don’t like them, you can change them or remove them.

  1. In C:Program FilesVimvimfilesftdetectvo_base.vim, comment out the if-endif block.  For whatever reason, this block causes my installation issues.
  2. In C:Program FilesVimvimfilessyntaxvo_base.vim, search for OL2 twice.
  3. On that line, change guifg=red to guifg=#FFAE66.
  4. In that same file, search for OL6.
  5. Change guifg=red to guifg=#FFAE66.
  6. The red syntax highlighting is too bright and doesn’t work well for me, so this change works much better.
  7. Search for FoldColumn.
  8. Comment out the FoldColumn line.
  9. In C:Program FilesVimvimfilesftpluginvo_base.vim, search for foldcolumn.
  10. Replace foldcolumn=1 with foldcolumn=4.
  11. My outlines usually nest more than 1 level, so it’s nice to see the fold characters rather than the fold level numbers in the fold column.

And there you have it…  this installation has served me well for quite some time now, and I hope the trend continues with your installation.

3 thoughts on “VimOutliner Windows installation howto

  1. I’ve used this several times over the past couple of years to set up VimOutliner on Windows. It works great. Thought I’d leave a quick thank you this time. Thanks.

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