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4 days ago


A vim-vinegar like file explorer that lets you edit your filesystem like a normal Neovim buffer.



oil.nvim supports all the usual plugin managers

    use {
      config = function() require('oil').setup() end
require "paq" {
Plug 'stevearc/oil.nvim'
call dein#add('stevearc/oil.nvim')
git clone --depth=1 ~/.vim/bundle/
git clone --depth=1 \

Quick start

Add the following to your init.lua


Then open a directory with nvim .. Use <CR> to open a file/directory, and - to go up a directory. Otherwise, just treat it like a normal buffer and make changes as you like. Remember to :w when you're done to actually perform the actions.

If you want to mimic the vim-vinegar method of navigating to the parent directory of a file, add this keymap:

vim.keymap.set("n", "-", require("oil").open, { desc = "Open parent directory" })

You can open a directory with :edit <path> or :Oil <path>. To open oil in a floating window, do :Oil --float <path>.


  -- Id is automatically added at the beginning, and name at the end
  -- See :help oil-columns
  columns = {
    -- "permissions",
    -- "size",
    -- "mtime",
  -- Buffer-local options to use for oil buffers
  buf_options = {
    buflisted = false,
  -- Window-local options to use for oil buffers
  win_options = {
    wrap = false,
    signcolumn = "no",
    cursorcolumn = false,
    foldcolumn = "0",
    spell = false,
    list = false,
    conceallevel = 3,
    concealcursor = "n",
  -- Restore window options to previous values when leaving an oil buffer
  restore_win_options = true,
  -- Skip the confirmation popup for simple operations
  skip_confirm_for_simple_edits = false,
  -- Keymaps in oil buffer. Can be any value that `vim.keymap.set` accepts OR a table of keymap
  -- options with a `callback` (e.g. { callback = function() ... end, desc = "", nowait = true })
  -- Additionally, if it is a string that matches "actions.<name>",
  -- it will use the mapping at require("oil.actions").<name>
  -- Set to `false` to remove a keymap
  -- See :help oil-actions for a list of all available actions
  keymaps = {
    ["g?"] = "actions.show_help",
    ["<CR>"] = "",
    ["<C-s>"] = "actions.select_vsplit",
    ["<C-h>"] = "actions.select_split",
    ["<C-t>"] = "actions.select_tab",
    ["<C-p>"] = "actions.preview",
    ["<C-c>"] = "actions.close",
    ["<C-l>"] = "actions.refresh",
    ["-"] = "actions.parent",
    ["_"] = "actions.open_cwd",
    ["`"] = "",
    ["~"] = "actions.tcd",
    ["g."] = "actions.toggle_hidden",
  -- Set to false to disable all of the above keymaps
  use_default_keymaps = true,
  view_options = {
    -- Show files and directories that start with "."
    show_hidden = false,
  -- Configuration for the floating window in oil.open_float
  float = {
    -- Padding around the floating window
    padding = 2,
    max_width = 0,
    max_height = 0,
    border = "rounded",
    win_options = {
      winblend = 10,


Oil does all of its filesystem interaction through an adapter abstraction. In practice, this means that oil can be used to view and modify files in more places than just the local filesystem, so long as the destination has an adapter implementation.

Note that file operations work across adapters. This means that you can use oil to copy files to/from a remote server using the ssh adapter just as easily as you can copy files from one directory to another on your local machine.


This adapter allows you to browse files over ssh, much like netrw. To use it, simply open a buffer using the following name template:

nvim oil-ssh://[username@]hostname[:port]/[path]

This may look familiar. In fact, this is the same url format that netrw uses.

Note that at the moment the ssh adapter does not support Windows machines, and it requires the server to have a /bin/bash binary as well as standard unix commands (rm, mv, mkdir, chmod, cp, touch, ln, echo).


get_entry_on_line(bufnr, lnum)

get_entry_on_line(bufnr, lnum): nil|oil.Entry
Get the entry on a specific line (1-indexed)

Param Type Desc
bufnr integer
lnum integer


get_cursor_entry(): nil|oil.Entry
Get the entry currently under the cursor


Discard all changes made to oil buffers


Change the display columns for oil

Param Type Desc
cols oil.ColumnSpec[]


get_current_dir(): nil|string
Get the current directory


Open oil browser in a floating window

Param Type Desc
dir nil|string When nil, open the parent of the current buffer, or the cwd if current buffer is not a file


Open oil browser for a directory

Param Type Desc
dir nil|string When nil, open the parent of the current buffer, or the cwd if current buffer is not a file


Restore the buffer that was present when oil was opened


Select the entry under the cursor

Param Type Desc
opts table
vertical boolean Open the buffer in a vertical split
horizontal boolean Open the buffer in a horizontal split
split "aboveleft"|"belowright"|"topleft"|"botright" Split modifier
preview boolean Open the buffer in a preview window
tab boolean Open the buffer in a new tab


Save all changes

Param Type Desc
opts nil|table
confirm nil|boolean Show confirmation when true, never when false, respect skip_confirm_for_simple_edits if nil


Initialize oil

Param Type Desc
opts nil|table


Q: Why "oil"?

A: From the vim-vinegar README, a quote by Drew Neil:

Split windows and the project drawer go together like oil and vinegar

Vinegar was taken. Let's be oil. Plus, I think it's pretty slick ;)

Q: Why would I want to use oil vs any other plugin?


  • You like to use a netrw-like view to browse directories (as opposed to a file tree)
  • AND you want to be able to edit your filesystem like a buffer
  • AND you want to perform cross-directory actions. AFAIK there is no other plugin that does this.

If you don't need those features specifically, check out the alternatives listed below

Q: Why write another plugin yourself instead of adding functionality to one that already exists?

A: Because I am a maniac control freak.

Q: What are some alternatives?


  • vim-vinegar: The granddaddy. This made me fall in love with single-directory file browsing. I stopped using it when I encountered netrw bugs and performance issues.
  • defx.nvim: What I switched to after vim-vinegar. Much more flexible and performant, but requires python and the API is a little hard to work with.
  • dirbuf.nvim: The first plugin I encountered that let you edit the filesystem like a buffer. Never used it because it can't do cross-directory edits.
  • lir.nvim: What I used prior to writing this plugin. Similar to vim-vinegar, but with better Neovim integration (floating windows, lua API).
  • vim-dirvish: Never personally used, but well-established, stable, simple directory browser.
  • vidir: Never personally used, but might be the first plugin to come up with the idea of editing a directory like a buffer.

There's also file trees like neo-tree and nvim-tree, but they're really a different category entirely.

Q: I don't need netrw anymore. How can I disable it?

A: Oil can fully replace netrw for local and ssh file browsing/editing, but keep in mind that netrw also supports rsync, http, ftp, and dav. If you don't need these other features, you can disable netrw with the following:

vim.g.loaded_netrw = 1
vim.g.loaded_netrwPlugin = 1