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2 months ago


A simple plugin to easily manage Neovim buffers

Neovim Lua


The never-ending problem

I want to manage Neovim buffers easily, without the mental overhead of remembering its ids or partial names. Buffer management includes moving to a buffer and deleting/adding one or more buffers.

The proposed solution

Use a buffer-like floating window where all the open buffers are listed. To select one buffer, just hit its line number, or move to it and press <CR>. To delete the buffer, delete it from the list. To add it (predictably) add a filename to the list.


  • Neovim 0.5.0+ required
  • Install buffer_manager using your favorite plugin manager. E.g. Packer.nvim:
use 'nvim-lua/plenary.nvim'  -- basic dependency
use 'j-morano/buffer_manager.nvim'


View all buffers and go to a buffer

:lua require("buffer_manager.ui").toggle_quick_menu()

Then, move to one of them, and open it with <CR>. Alternative: press the key corresponding to its line number (notice that, in this case, 0 maps to 10, since there is no 0 line).

Add buffer/Create file

Write the filename of the new buffer.

(Some people will find this useless, but I often use this functionality together with an autocomplete for files.)

Tip: you can use the Neovim built-in file autocomplete functionality (<C-x><C-f>) to ease the opening of new files.

If the file does not exist, a new empty buffer will be created, which will be written to the specified file when it is saved.

Remove buffer

Delete it in the buffer menu.

Note: the plugin does not remove terminal buffers or modified buffers.

Reorganize buffers

The buffers can be reorganized in any way. To do it, just move the name of the buffer to the chosen line.

Go to next or previous buffer in the list

:lua require("buffer_manager.ui").nav_next()
:lua require("buffer_manager.ui").nav_prev()

Save buffer list to a file or load it

Introduce the filename interactively:

:lua require'buffer_manager.ui'.save_menu_to_file()
:lua require'buffer_manager.ui'.load_menu_from_file()

Introduce the filename directly as a function argument:

:lua require'buffer_manager.ui'.save_menu_to_file('bm')
:lua require'buffer_manager.ui'.load_menu_from_file('bm')


Plugin configuration

The plugin can be configured through the setup function:

require("buffer_manager").setup({ })

Available configuration options

  • select_menu_item_commands: Lua table containing the keys and the corresponding command to run for the buffer under the cursor.
  • line_keys: keys bound to each line of the buffer menu, in order.
  • focus_alternate_buffer: place the cursor over the alternate buffer instead of the current buffer.
  • width: Width in columns (if > 1) or relative to window width (if <= 1).
  • height: Height in rows (if > 1) or relative to window height (if <= 1).
  • short_file_names: Shorten buffer names: filename+extension, preceded by the number of levels under the current dir and a slash.
  • short_term_names: Shorten terminal buffer names.
  • loop_nav: Loop or not the files when using nav_next and nav_prev. When false, nav_prev does nothing when at first buffer, and either does nav_next when at last one. When true, nav_next goes to the first buffer when at last one, and nav_prev goes to the last buffer when at first one.
  • highlight: highlight for the window. Format: from1:to1,from2:to2. E.g. Normal:MyCustomNormal. (See :help winhighlight.)
  • win_extra_options: extra options for the menu window. E.g. { relativenumber = true }. (See :help option-list.)
  • borderchars: border characters for the menu window.
  • format_function: support for custom function to format buffer names. The function should receive a string and return a string. This option is incompatible with short_file_names. To use it, short_file_names must be set to false. By default, the function is nil, which means no special formatting is applied.
  • order_buffers: order the buffers in the menu. Options are "filename", "bufnr" and "lastused". By default, it is nil, which means the buffers are not automatically ordered. If reverse is added to the option, the buffers are ordered in reverse order. For example, order_buffers = 'filename:reverse'.
  • show_indicators: show indicators for buffers in virtual text. See :help ls for more information about indicators. Possible values are "before" (before filename) and "after" (after filename). When set to nil, no indicators are shown.

In addition, you can specify a custom color for the modified buffers, by setting the highlight group BufferManagerModified to the desired color. For example:

vim.api.nvim_set_hl(0, "BufferManagerModified", { fg = "#0000af" })

Default configuration

    line_keys = "1234567890",
    select_menu_item_commands = {
      edit = {
        key = "<CR>",
        command = "edit"
    focus_alternate_buffer = false,
    short_file_names = false,
    short_term_names = false,
    loop_nav = true,
    highlight = "",
    win_extra_options = {},
    borderchars = { "─", "│", "─", "│", "╭", "╮", "╯", "╰" },
    format_function = nil,
    order_buffers = nil,
    show_indicators = nil,

Example configuration

local opts = {noremap = true}
local map = vim.keymap.set
-- Setup
  select_menu_item_commands = {
    v = {
      key = "<C-v>",
      command = "vsplit"
    h = {
      key = "<C-h>",
      command = "split"
  focus_alternate_buffer = false,
  short_file_names = true,
  short_term_names = true,
  loop_nav = false,
  highlight = 'Normal:BufferManagerBorder',
  win_extra_options = {
    winhighlight = 'Normal:BufferManagerNormal',
-- Navigate buffers bypassing the menu
local bmui = require("buffer_manager.ui")
local keys = '1234567890'
for i = 1, #keys do
  local key = keys:sub(i,i)
    string.format('<leader>%s', key),
    function () bmui.nav_file(i) end,
-- Just the menu
map({ 't', 'n' }, '<M-Space>', bmui.toggle_quick_menu, opts)
-- Open menu and search
map({ 't', 'n' }, '<M-m>', function ()
  -- wait for the menu to open
  vim.defer_fn(function ()
  end, 50)
end, opts)
-- Next/Prev
map('n', '<M-j>', bmui.nav_next, opts)
map('n', '<M-k>', bmui.nav_prev, opts)

Useful settings

Reorder buffers

Since the buffer menu is just a buffer with the specific file type buffer_manager, you can define your own remaps using an autocmd for this filetype. For example, the following remaps allow to move a line up and down in visual mode with capital K and J, respectively.

autocmd FileType buffer_manager vnoremap J :m '>+1<CR>gv=gv
autocmd FileType buffer_manager vnoremap K :m '<-2<CR>gv=gv

This is very useful for reorganizing the buffers.

You can also set the previous autocmds with Lua as follows:

autocmd FileType buffer_manager vnoremap J :m '>+1<CR>gv=gv
autocmd FileType buffer_manager vnoremap K :m '<-2<CR>gv=gv


  • Logs are written to buffer_manager.log within the nvim cache path (:echo stdpath("cache"))
  • Available log levels are trace, debug, info, warn, error, or fatal. warn is default
  • Log level can be set with vim.g.buffer_manager_log_level (must be before setup())
  • Launching nvim with BUFFER_MANAGER_LOG=debug nvim takes precedence over vim.g.buffer_manager_log_level.
  • Invalid values default back to warn.

Contributing and reporting issues

All contributions are welcome! Just open a pull request.

Furthermore, feel free to open an issue if something is not working as expected.

All feedback is appreciated!


This plugin is based on Harpoon, an amazing plugin written by ThePrimeagen to easily navigate previously marked terminals and files.

Also, special thanks to bufdelete.nvim, for showing how to remove buffers correctly.