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Control nvim processes using "nvr" commandline tool

Project description

[![Build status](](
[![Supported Python versions](](

<div align='center'>

This package provides an executable called **nvr** which solves these cases:

- Controlling nvim processes from the shell. E.g. opening files in another
terminal window.
- Opening files from within `:terminal` without starting a nested nvim process.


- [Installation](#installation)
- [Theory](#theory)
- [First steps](#first-steps)
- [Typical use cases](#typical-use-cases)
- [Demos](#demos)
- [FAQ](#faq)


## Installation

pip3 install neovim-remote

If you encounter any issues, e.g. permission denied errors or you can't find the
`nvr` executable, read [](

## Theory

Nvim always starts a server. Get its address via `:echo $NVIM_LISTEN_ADDRESS` or
`:echo v:servername`. Or specify an address at startup:
`NVIM_LISTEN_ADDRESS=/tmp/nvimsocket nvim`.

**nvr** will use `$NVIM_LISTEN_ADDRESS` or any address given to it via

If the targeted address does not exist, **nvr** starts a new process by running
"nvim". You can change the command by setting `$NVR_CMD`. _(This requires
forking, so it won't work on Windows.)_

## First steps

Start a nvim process (which acts as a server) in one shell:

NVIM_LISTEN_ADDRESS=/tmp/nvimsocket nvim

And do this in another shell:

# nvr uses /tmp/nvimsocket by default, so we're good.

# Open two files:
nvr --remote file1 file2

# Send keys to the current buffer:
nvr --remote-send 'iabc<esc>'
# Enter insert mode, insert 'abc', and go back to normal mode again.

# Evaluate any VimL expression, e.g. get the current buffer:
nvr --remote-expr 'bufname("")'

<summary>click here to see all nvr options</summary>

$ nvr -h
usage: nvr [arguments]

Remote control Neovim processes.

If no process is found, a new one will be started.

$ nvr --remote-send 'iabc<cr><esc>'
$ nvr --remote-expr 'map([1,2,3], "v:val + 1")'

Any arguments not consumed by options will be fed to --remote-silent:

$ nvr --remote-silent file1 file2
$ nvr file1 file2

All --remote options take optional commands.
Exception: --remote-expr, --remote-send.

$ nvr +10 file
$ nvr +'echomsg "foo" | echomsg "bar"' file
$ nvr --remote-tab-wait +'set bufhidden=delete' file

Open files in a new window from a terminal buffer:

$ nvr -cc split file1 file2

Use nvr from git to edit commit messages:

$ git config --global core.editor 'nvr --remote-wait-silent'

optional arguments:
-h, --help show this help message and exit
--remote [<file> [<file> ...]]
Use :edit to open files. If no process is found, throw
an error and start a new one.
--remote-wait [<file> [<file> ...]]
Like --remote, but block until all buffers opened by
this option get deleted or the process exits.
--remote-silent [<file> [<file> ...]]
Like --remote, but throw no error if no process is
--remote-wait-silent [<file> [<file> ...]]
Combines --remote-wait and --remote-silent.
--remote-tab [<file> [<file> ...]]
Like --remote, but use :tabedit.
--remote-tab-wait [<file> [<file> ...]]
Like --remote-wait, but use :tabedit.
--remote-tab-silent [<file> [<file> ...]]
Like --remote-silent, but use :tabedit.
--remote-tab-wait-silent [<file> [<file> ...]]
Like --remote-wait-silent, but use :tabedit.
--remote-send <keys> Send key presses.
--remote-expr <expr> Evaluate expression and print result in shell.
--servername <addr> Set the address to be used. This overrides the default
"/tmp/nvimsocket" and $NVIM_LISTEN_ADDRESS.
--serverlist Print the TCPv4 and Unix domain socket addresses of
all nvim processes.
-cc <cmd> Execute a command before every other option.
-c <cmd> Execute a command after every other option.
-d Diff mode. Use :diffthis on all to be opened buffers.
-l Change to previous window via ":wincmd p".
-o <file> [<file> ...]
Open files via ":split".
-O <file> [<file> ...]
Open files via ":vsplit".
-p <file> [<file> ...]
Open files via ":tabedit".
-q <errorfile> Read errorfile into quickfix list and display first
-s Silence "no server found" message.
-t <tag> Jump to file and position of given tag.
--nostart If no process is found, do not start a new one.
--version Show the nvr version.


Happy hacking!

## Typical use cases

- **Open files from within `:terminal` without starting a nested nvim process.**

Easy-peasy! Just `nvr file`.

This works without any prior setup, because `$NVIM_LISTEN_ADDRESS` is always
set within Nvim. And `nvr` will default to that address.

I often work with two windows next to each other. If one contains the
terminal, I can use `nvr -l foo` to open the file in the other window.

- **Open files always in the same nvim process no matter which terminal you're in.**

If you just run `nvr -s`, a new nvim process will start and set its address
to `/tmp/nvimsocket` automatically.

Now, no matter in which terminal you are, `nvr file` will always work on
that nvim process. That is akin to `emacsclient` from Emacs.

- **Use nvr in plugins.**

Some plugins rely on the `--remote` family of options from Vim. Nvim had to
remove those when they switched to outsource a lot of manual code to libuv.
These options are [planned to be added back](, though.

In these cases nvr can be used as a drop-in replacement. E.g.
[vimtex]( can be configured to use nvr to
jump to a certain file and line: [read](

- **Use nvr as git editor.**

Imagine Neovim is set as your default editor via `$VISUAL` or `$EDITOR`.

Running `git commit` in a regular shell starts a nvim process. But in a
terminal buffer (`:terminal`), a new nvim process starts as well. Now you
have one nvim nested within another.

If you do not want this, put this in your vimrc:

if has('nvim')
let $GIT_EDITOR = 'nvr -cc split --remote-wait'

That way, you get a new window for inserting the commit message instead of a
nested nvim process. But git still waits for nvr to finish, so make sure to
delete the buffer after saving the commit message: `:w | bd`.

If you don't like using `:w | bd` and prefer the good old `:wq` (or `:x`),
put the following in your vimrc:

autocmd FileType gitcommit set bufhidden=delete

To use nvr from a regular shell as well:

$ git config --global core.editor 'nvr --remote-wait-silent'

- **Use nvr as git mergetool.**

If you want to use nvr for `git difftool` and `git mergetool`, put this in
your gitconfig:

tool = nvr
[difftool "nvr"]
cmd = nvr -s -d $LOCAL $REMOTE
tool = nvr
[mergetool "nvr"]
cmd = nvr -s -d $LOCAL $BASE $REMOTE $MERGED -c 'wincmd J | wincmd ='

`nvr -d` is a shortcut for `nvr -d -O` and acts like `vim -d`, thus it uses
`:vsplit` to open the buffers. If you want them to be opened via `:split`
instead, use `nvr -d -o`.

When used as mergetool and all four buffers got opened, the cursor is in the
window containing the $MERGED buffer. We move it to the bottom via `:wincmd
J` and then equalize the size of all windows via `:wincmd =`.

- **Use nvr for scripting.**

You might draw some inspiration from [this Reddit

## Demos

_(Click on the GIFs to watch them full-size.)_

Using nvr from another shell: ![Demo 1](

Using nvr from within `:terminal`: ![Demo 2](

## FAQ

- **How to open directories?**

`:e /tmp` opens a directory view via netrw. Netrw works by hooking into certain
events, `BufEnter` in this case (see `:au FileExplorer` for all of them).

Unfortunately Neovim's API doesn't trigger any autocmds on its own, so simply
`nvr /tmp` won't work. Meanwhile you can work around it like this:

$ nvr /tmp -c 'doautocmd BufEnter'

- **Reading from stdin?**

Yes! E.g. `echo "foo\nbar" | nvr -o -` and `cat file | nvr --remote -` work just
as you would expect them to work.

- **Exit code?**

If you use a [recent enough
Neovim](, nvr will use the same exit code as the linked nvim.

E.g. `nvr --remote-wait <file>` and then `:cquit` in the linked nvim will make
nvr return with 1.

- **How to send a message to all waiting clients?**

If you open a buffer with any of the _wait_ options, that buffer will get a
variable `b:nvr`. The variable contains a list of channels wheres each
channel is a waiting nvr client.

Currently nvr only understands the `Exit` message. You could use it to
disconnect all waiting nvr clients at once:

command! DisconnectClients
\ if exists('b:nvr')
\| for client in b:nvr
\| silent! call rpcnotify(client, 'Exit', 1)
\| endfor
\| endif

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