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I can set the custom filetype settings for the know file types using the *.vim files in ftplugin directory, e.g. c.vim for (c, cpp, h, hxx), python.vim etc.

But I want to set the file types for the custom file extension like *.text, *.letter, *.journal etc. I tried using text.vim and so on but that didn't work.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You are looking for autocommands. Add a line for each custom file extension in your .vimrc:

au! BufRead,BufNewFile *.ext setfiletype ext

Then you can specify settings for .ext files in ftplugin/ext.vim.

PS: Note that autocommands must be defined inside an augroup.

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You are looking for :h new-filetype.

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Your answer is great but mrucci gave a direct solution. – Xolve Jun 29 '10 at 14:32
Direct, indeed. But incomplete. There exist files dedicated to filetype detection. – Luc Hermitte Jun 29 '10 at 15:16

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