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5 days ago


barbar.nvim is a tabline plugin with re-orderable, auto-sizing, clickable tabs, icons, nice highlighting, sort-by commands and a magic jump-to-buffer mode. Plus the tab names are made unique when two filenames match.

In jump-to-buffer mode, tabs display a target letter instead of their icon. Jump to any buffer by simply typing their target letter. Even better, the target letter stays constant for the lifetime of the buffer, so if you're working with a set of files you can even type the letter ahead from memory.

Table of content



  • Neovim v0.7+

Optional Requirements:

Using lazy.nvim

require('lazy').setup {
    dependencies = {
      'lewis6991/gitsigns.nvim', -- OPTIONAL: for git status
      'nvim-tree/nvim-web-devicons', -- OPTIONAL: for file icons
    init = function() vim.g.barbar_auto_setup = false end,
    opts = {
      -- lazy.nvim will automatically call setup for you. put your options here, anything missing will use the default:
      -- animation = true,
      -- insert_at_start = true,
      -- …etc.
    version = '^1.0.0', -- optional: only update when a new 1.x version is released

Using packer.nvim

-- These optional plugins should be loaded directly because of a bug in Packer lazy loading
use 'nvim-tree/nvim-web-devicons' -- OPTIONAL: for file icons
use 'lewis6991/gitsigns.nvim' -- OPTIONAL: for git status
use 'romgrk/barbar.nvim'

Using vim-plug

Plug 'nvim-tree/nvim-web-devicons' " OPTIONAL: for file icons
Plug 'lewis6991/gitsigns.nvim' " OPTIONAL: for git status
Plug 'romgrk/barbar.nvim'


Re-order tabs


Auto-sizing tabs, fill the space when available


Jump-to-buffer mode


Type a letter to jump to a buffer. Letters stay constant for the lifetime of the buffer. By default, letters are assigned based on buffer name, eg will get letter r. You can change this so that letters are assigned based on usability: home row (asdfjkl;gh) first, then other rows.

Sort tabs automatically


:BufferOrderByName, :BufferOrderByDirectory, :BufferOrderByLanguage, :BufferOrderByWindowNumber, :BufferOrderByBufferNumber

Clickable & closable tabs


Left-click to go, middle-click or close button to close. Don't forget to set mouse+=a.

Unique names when filenames match


Pinned buffers


bbye.vim for closing buffers

A modified version of bbye.vim is included in this plugin to close buffers without messing with your window layout and more. Available as BufferClose and bufferline#bbye#delete(buf).

Scrollable tabs, to always show the current buffer


Offset bufferline when showing sidebars



Mappings & commands

Vim script

No default mappings are provided, here is an example. It is recommended to use the BufferClose command to close buffers instead of bdelete because it will not mess your window layout.


In the below key mappings, the Alt key is being used. If you are using a terminal like iTerm on Mac, you will want to make sure that your Option key is properly mapped to Alt. Its under Profiles > Keys, select Esc+

" Move to previous/next
nnoremap <silent>    <A-,> <Cmd>BufferPrevious<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-.> <Cmd>BufferNext<CR>

" Re-order to previous/next
nnoremap <silent>    <A-<> <Cmd>BufferMovePrevious<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A->> <Cmd>BufferMoveNext<CR>

" Goto buffer in position...
nnoremap <silent>    <A-1> <Cmd>BufferGoto 1<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-2> <Cmd>BufferGoto 2<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-3> <Cmd>BufferGoto 3<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-4> <Cmd>BufferGoto 4<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-5> <Cmd>BufferGoto 5<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-6> <Cmd>BufferGoto 6<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-7> <Cmd>BufferGoto 7<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-8> <Cmd>BufferGoto 8<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-9> <Cmd>BufferGoto 9<CR>
nnoremap <silent>    <A-0> <Cmd>BufferLast<CR>

" Pin/unpin buffer
nnoremap <silent>    <A-p> <Cmd>BufferPin<CR>

" Close buffer
nnoremap <silent>    <A-c> <Cmd>BufferClose<CR>
" Restore buffer
nnoremap <silent>    <A-s-c> <Cmd>BufferRestore<CR>

" Wipeout buffer
"                          :BufferWipeout
" Close commands
"                          :BufferCloseAllButCurrent
"                          :BufferCloseAllButVisible
"                          :BufferCloseAllButPinned
"                          :BufferCloseAllButCurrentOrPinned
"                          :BufferCloseBuffersLeft
"                          :BufferCloseBuffersRight

" Magic buffer-picking mode
nnoremap <silent> <C-p>    <Cmd>BufferPick<CR>
nnoremap <silent> <C-p>    <Cmd>BufferPickDelete<CR>

" Sort automatically by...
nnoremap <silent> <Space>bb <Cmd>BufferOrderByBufferNumber<CR>
nnoremap <silent> <Space>bn <Cmd>BufferOrderByName<CR>
nnoremap <silent> <Space>bd <Cmd>BufferOrderByDirectory<CR>
nnoremap <silent> <Space>bl <Cmd>BufferOrderByLanguage<CR>
nnoremap <silent> <Space>bw <Cmd>BufferOrderByWindowNumber<CR>

" Other:
" :BarbarEnable - enables barbar (enabled by default)
" :BarbarDisable - very bad command, should never be used


local map = vim.api.nvim_set_keymap
local opts = { noremap = true, silent = true }

-- Move to previous/next
map('n', '<A-,>', '<Cmd>BufferPrevious<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-.>', '<Cmd>BufferNext<CR>', opts)
-- Re-order to previous/next
map('n', '<A-<>', '<Cmd>BufferMovePrevious<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A->>', '<Cmd>BufferMoveNext<CR>', opts)
-- Goto buffer in position...
map('n', '<A-1>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 1<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-2>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 2<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-3>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 3<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-4>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 4<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-5>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 5<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-6>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 6<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-7>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 7<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-8>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 8<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-9>', '<Cmd>BufferGoto 9<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<A-0>', '<Cmd>BufferLast<CR>', opts)
-- Pin/unpin buffer
map('n', '<A-p>', '<Cmd>BufferPin<CR>', opts)
-- Close buffer
map('n', '<A-c>', '<Cmd>BufferClose<CR>', opts)
-- Wipeout buffer
--                 :BufferWipeout
-- Close commands
--                 :BufferCloseAllButCurrent
--                 :BufferCloseAllButPinned
--                 :BufferCloseAllButCurrentOrPinned
--                 :BufferCloseBuffersLeft
--                 :BufferCloseBuffersRight
-- Magic buffer-picking mode
map('n', '<C-p>', '<Cmd>BufferPick<CR>', opts)
-- Sort automatically by...
map('n', '<Space>bb', '<Cmd>BufferOrderByBufferNumber<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<Space>bn', '<Cmd>BufferOrderByName<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<Space>bd', '<Cmd>BufferOrderByDirectory<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<Space>bl', '<Cmd>BufferOrderByLanguage<CR>', opts)
map('n', '<Space>bw', '<Cmd>BufferOrderByWindowNumber<CR>', opts)

-- Other:
-- :BarbarEnable - enables barbar (enabled by default)
-- :BarbarDisable - very bad command, should never be used



If you're using Vim Script, just wrap setup like this:

let g:barbar_auto_setup = v:false " disable auto-setup
lua << EOF
  require'barbar'.setup {…}
vim.g.barbar_auto_setup = false -- disable auto-setup

require'barbar'.setup {
  -- WARN: do not copy everything below into your config!
  --       It is just an example of what configuration options there are.
  --       The defaults are suitable for most people.

  -- Enable/disable animations
  animation = true,

  -- Automatically hide the tabline when there are this many buffers left.
  -- Set to any value >=0 to enable.
  auto_hide = false,

  -- Enable/disable current/total tabpages indicator (top right corner)
  tabpages = true,

  -- Enables/disable clickable tabs
  --  - left-click: go to buffer
  --  - middle-click: delete buffer
  clickable = true,

  -- Excludes buffers from the tabline
  exclude_ft = {'javascript'},
  exclude_name = {'package.json'},

  -- A buffer to this direction will be focused (if it exists) when closing the current buffer.
  -- Valid options are 'left' (the default), 'previous', and 'right'
  focus_on_close = 'left',

  -- Hide inactive buffers and file extensions. Other options are `alternate`, `current`, and `visible`.
  hide = {extensions = true, inactive = true},

  -- Disable highlighting alternate buffers
  highlight_alternate = false,

  -- Disable highlighting file icons in inactive buffers
  highlight_inactive_file_icons = false,

  -- Enable highlighting visible buffers
  highlight_visible = true,

  icons = {
    -- Configure the base icons on the bufferline.
    -- Valid options to display the buffer index and -number are `true`, 'superscript' and 'subscript'
    buffer_index = false,
    buffer_number = false,
    button = '',
    -- Enables / disables diagnostic symbols
    diagnostics = {
      [vim.diagnostic.severity.ERROR] = {enabled = true, icon = 'ff'},
      [vim.diagnostic.severity.WARN] = {enabled = false},
      [vim.diagnostic.severity.INFO] = {enabled = false},
      [vim.diagnostic.severity.HINT] = {enabled = true},
    gitsigns = {
      added = {enabled = true, icon = '+'},
      changed = {enabled = true, icon = '~'},
      deleted = {enabled = true, icon = '-'},
    filetype = {
      -- Sets the icon's highlight group.
      -- If false, will use nvim-web-devicons colors
      custom_colors = false,

      -- Requires `nvim-web-devicons` if `true`
      enabled = true,
    separator = {left = '▎', right = ''},

    -- If true, add an additional separator at the end of the buffer list
    separator_at_end = true,

    -- Configure the icons on the bufferline when modified or pinned.
    -- Supports all the base icon options.
    modified = {button = '●'},
    pinned = {button = '', filename = true},

    -- Use a preconfigured buffer appearance— can be 'default', 'powerline', or 'slanted'
    preset = 'default',

    -- Configure the icons on the bufferline based on the visibility of a buffer.
    -- Supports all the base icon options, plus `modified` and `pinned`.
    alternate = {filetype = {enabled = false}},
    current = {buffer_index = true},
    inactive = {button = '×'},
    visible = {modified = {buffer_number = false}},

  -- If true, new buffers will be inserted at the start/end of the list.
  -- Default is to insert after current buffer.
  insert_at_end = false,
  insert_at_start = false,

  -- Sets the maximum padding width with which to surround each tab
  maximum_padding = 1,

  -- Sets the minimum padding width with which to surround each tab
  minimum_padding = 1,

  -- Sets the maximum buffer name length.
  maximum_length = 30,

  -- Sets the minimum buffer name length.
  minimum_length = 0,

  -- If set, the letters for each buffer in buffer-pick mode will be
  -- assigned based on their name. Otherwise or in case all letters are
  -- already assigned, the behavior is to assign letters in order of
  -- usability (see order below)
  semantic_letters = true,

  -- Set the filetypes which barbar will offset itself for
  sidebar_filetypes = {
    -- Use the default values: {event = 'BufWinLeave', text = '', align = 'left'}
    NvimTree = true,
    -- Or, specify the text used for the offset:
    undotree = {
      text = 'undotree',
      align = 'center', -- *optionally* specify an alignment (either 'left', 'center', or 'right')
    -- Or, specify the event which the sidebar executes when leaving:
    ['neo-tree'] = {event = 'BufWipeout'},
    -- Or, specify all three
    Outline = {event = 'BufWinLeave', text = 'symbols-outline', align = 'right'},

  -- New buffer letters are assigned in this order. This order is
  -- optimal for the qwerty keyboard layout but might need adjustment
  -- for other layouts.
  letters = 'asdfjkl;ghnmxcvbziowerutyqpASDFJKLGHNMXCVBZIOWERUTYQP',

  -- Sets the name of unnamed buffers. By default format is "[Buffer X]"
  -- where X is the buffer number. But only a static string is accepted here.
  no_name_title = nil,


Highlight groups are created in this way: Buffer<STATUS><PART>.

<STATUS> Meaning
Alternate The :h alternate-file.
Current The current buffer.
Inactive :h hidden-buffers and :h inactive-buffers.
Visible :h active-buffers which are not alternate or current.
<PART> Meaning
ADDED Git status added.
Btn The button that shows when a buffer is unpinned and unmodified.
CHANGED Git status changed.
DELETED Git status deleted.
ERROR Diagnostic errors.
HINT Diagnostic hints.
Icon The filetype icon (when icons.filetype == {custom_colors = true, enabled = true}).
Index The buffer's position in the tabline.
INFO Diagnostic info.
Mod When the buffer is modified.
ModBtn The button that shows when a buffer is modified.
Number The :h bufnr().
Pin When the buffer is pinned.
PinBtn The button that shows when a buffer is pinned.
Sign The separator between buffers.
SignRight The separator between buffers.
Target The letter in buffer-pick mode.
WARN Diagnostic warnings.
  • e.g. the current buffer's highlight when modified is BufferCurrentMod

There are a few highlight groups which do not follow this rule. They are:

Group Usage
BufferOffset The background of the header for a sidebar_filetype
BufferScrollArrow The arrow which shows to indicate that there are more buffers to the left or right of the scroll position.
BufferTabpageFill The space between the open buffer list and the tabpage
BufferTabpages The color of the tabpages indicator.
BufferTabpagesSep The separator between the tabpages count.

You can also use the doom-one.vim colorscheme that defines those groups and is also very pleasant as you could see in the demos above.



To preserve buffer order while using scope.nvim, you can add this to your config:

require('scope').setup {
  hooks = {
    pre_tab_leave = function()
      vim.api.nvim_exec_autocmds('User', {pattern = 'ScopeTabLeavePre'})
      -- [other statements]

    post_tab_enter = function()
      vim.api.nvim_exec_autocmds('User', {pattern = 'ScopeTabEnterPost'})
      -- [other statements]

    -- [other hooks]

  -- [other options]


barbar.nvim can restore the order that your buffers were in, as well as whether a buffer was pinned. To do this, sessionoptions must contain globals, and the User SessionSavePre event must be executed before :mksession.


Here is a mini.sessions config which can be used:

vim.opt.sessionoptions:append 'globals'
require'mini.sessions'.setup {
  hooks = {
    pre = {
      write = function() vim.api.nvim_exec_autocmds('User', {pattern = 'SessionSavePre'}) end,

Here is a persistence.nvim config which can be used:

require'persistence'.setup {
  options = {--[[<other options>,]] 'globals'},
  pre_save = function() vim.api.nvim_exec_autocmds('User', {pattern = 'SessionSavePre'}) end,

Here is a persisted.nvim config which can be used:

vim.opt.sessionoptions:append 'globals'
vim.api.nvim_create_autocmd({ 'User' }, {
  pattern = 'PersistedSavePre',
  group = vim.api.nvim_create_augroup('PersistedHooks', {}),
  callback = function()
    vim.api.nvim_exec_autocmds('User', { pattern = 'SessionSavePre' })

You can add this snippet to your config to take advantage of our session integration:

vim.opt.sessionoptions:append 'globals'
    vim.api.nvim_exec_autocmds('User', {pattern = 'SessionSavePre'})

    -- Neovim 0.8+
    vim.cmd.mksession {bang = attr.bang, args = attr.fargs}

    -- Neovim 0.7
    vim.api.nvim_command('mksession ' .. (attr.bang and '!' or '') .. attr.args)
  {bang = true, complete = 'file', desc = 'Save barbar with :mksession', nargs = '?'}

Known Issues


Barbar doesn't show up because lightline changes the tabline setting. Add:

let g:lightline={ 'enable': {'statusline': 1, 'tabline': 0} }


netrw has a lot of bugs which make it hard to support. It may work partially, but we will not make changes to barbar.nvim to work-around netrw-specific bugs (e.g. #82).

You can use any other file explorer instead.

Sidebars On Startup

The sidebar_filetypes option may not work as expected if your sidebar opens on startup. See nvim-tree/nvim-tree.lua#2130 for details, and romgrk/barbar.nvim#421 for a workaround.


Barbar is called barbar because it's a bar, but it's also more than a bar: a "barbar".

It is pronounced like "Jar Jar" in "Jar Jar Binks", but with Bs.

No, barbar has nothing to do with barbarians.


  • barbar.nvim: Distributed under the terms of the JSON license.
  • bbye.vim: Distributed under the terms of the GNU Affero license.