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11 days ago


Vim plugin for automatically highlighting other uses of the current word under the cursor



All modern IDEs and editors will highlight the word under the cursor which is a great way to see other uses of the current variable without having to look for it.


This plugin is a tool for illuminating the other uses of the current word under the cursor.

If Neovim's builtin LSP is available, it can be used to highlight more intelligently.

Otherwise, Illuminate will by default highlight all uses of the word under the cursor, but with a little bit of configuration it can easily only highlight what you want it to highlight based on the filetype and highlight-groups.

Illuminate will also do a few other niceties such as delaying the highlight for a user-defined amount of time based on g:Illuminate_delay (by default 0), it will interact nicely with search highlighting, jumping around between buffers, jumping around between windows, and won't illuminate while in insert mode (unless told to).

LSP Configuration

vim-illuminate can use Neovim's builtin LSP client to intelligently highlight. This is not compatible with |illuminate-configuration| with a few exceptions explained below.

To set it up, simply call on_attach when the LSP client attaches to a buffer. For example, if you want gopls to be used by vim-illuminate:

  require'lspconfig'.gopls.setup {
    on_attach = function(client)
      -- [[ other on_attach code ]]
      require 'illuminate'.on_attach(client)

Highlighting is done using the same highlight groups as the builtin LSP which is LspReferenceText, LspReferenceRead, and LspReferenceWrite.

  vim.api.nvim_command [[ hi def link LspReferenceText CursorLine ]]
  vim.api.nvim_command [[ hi def link LspReferenceWrite CursorLine ]]
  vim.api.nvim_command [[ hi def link LspReferenceRead CursorLine ]]

The other additional configuration currently supported is g:Illuminate_delay.

You can cycle through these document highlights with these mappings:

vim.api.nvim_set_keymap('n', '<a-n>', '<cmd>lua require"illuminate".next_reference{wrap=true}<cr>', {noremap=true})
vim.api.nvim_set_keymap('n', '<a-p>', '<cmd>lua require"illuminate".next_reference{reverse=true,wrap=true}<cr>', {noremap=true})

I used alt+n and alt+p but you can map to whatever.


Illuminate will delay before highlighting, this is not lag, it is to avoid the jarring experience of things illuminating too fast. This can be controlled with g:Illuminate_delay (which is default to 0 milliseconds):

Note: Delay only works for Vim8 and Neovim.

" Time in milliseconds (default 0)
let g:Illuminate_delay = 0

Illuminate will by default highlight the word under the cursor to match the behaviour seen in Intellij and VSCode. However, to make it not highlight the word under the cursor, use the following:

" Don't highlight word under cursor (default: 1)
let g:Illuminate_highlightUnderCursor = 0

By default illuminate will highlight all words the cursor passes over, but for many languages, you will only want to highlight certain highlight-groups (you can determine the highlight-group of a symbol under your cursor with :echo synIDattr(synID(line("."), col("."), 1), "name")).

You can define which highlight groups you want the illuminating to apply to. This can be done with a dict mapping a filetype to a list of highlight-groups in your vimrc such as:

let g:Illuminate_ftHighlightGroups = {
      \ 'vim': ['vimVar', 'vimString', 'vimLineComment',
      \         'vimFuncName', 'vimFunction', 'vimUserFunc', 'vimFunc']
      \ }

A blacklist of highlight groups can also be setup by adding the suffix :blacklist to the filetype. However, if the whitelist for that filetype already exists, it will override the blacklist.

let g:Illuminate_ftHighlightGroups = {
      \ 'vim:blacklist': ['vimVar', 'vimString', 'vimLineComment',
      \         'vimFuncName', 'vimFunction', 'vimUserFunc', 'vimFunc']
      \ }

illuminate can also be disabled for various filetypes using the following:

let g:Illuminate_ftblacklist = ['nerdtree']

Or you can enable it only for certain filetypes with:

let g:Illuminate_ftwhitelist = ['vim', 'sh', 'python']

By default the highlighting will be done with the highlight-group CursorLine since that is in my opinion the nicest. It can however be overridden using the following (use standard Vim highlighting syntax): Note: It must be in an autocmd to get around a weird Neovim behaviour.

augroup illuminate_augroup
    autocmd VimEnter * hi link illuminatedWord CursorLine
augroup END

" or

augroup illuminate_augroup
    autocmd VimEnter * hi illuminatedWord cterm=underline gui=underline
augroup END

Lastly, you can also specify a specific highlight for the word under the cursor so it differs from all other matches using the following higlight group:

augroup illuminate_augroup
    autocmd VimEnter * hi illuminatedCurWord cterm=italic gui=italic
augroup END


This assumes you have the packages feature. If not, any plugin manager will suffice.


mkdir -p ~/.config/nvim/pack/plugins/start
cd ~/.config/nvim/pack/plugins/start
git clone https://github.com/RRethy/vim-illuminate.git


mkdir -p ~/.vim/pack/plugins/start
cd ~/.vim/pack/plugins/start
git clone https://github.com/RRethy/vim-illuminate.git


I am seeing by default an underline for the matched words

Try this: hi link illuminatedWord Visual. The reason for the underline is that the highlighting is done with CursorLine by default, which defaults to an underline.