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I'd like different tabs to be visible at once, managed as separate windows (window manager windows, not Vim windows).

This is impossible, right? Just checking.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes. GVim is a single window app.

You can run multiple GVim instances but that would be multiple sessions. It may be enough if the only thing you "share" between tabs is the default register (which can be made to sync with the system clipboard via set clipboard+=unnamed) but it won't work if you use more registers, record macros, tweak your settings on the fly, etc.

I can see the appeal if you are doing unrelated things and don't want to mess with your current project or something, but what would be the benefit of having multiple WM windows for a single session?

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If you do ":help todo" and search for "top-level" you'll see there's an item to allow multiple gVim instances to communicate and share data. Presumably it's just waiting for some coder to decide to tackle the problem and contribute the necessary patch. – Heptite Feb 10 '12 at 7:50
@romainl The benefit of having multiple WM windows for a single session is that I want to see two files side by side on a workspace that is split into two windows. The alternative is to move vim to a single-window workspace and :vsplit, and subsequently move it back to the 2-pane workspace and :only --- a lot more hassle. – Jean Jordaan Feb 12 '12 at 7:10
I don't really get what you mean. I do HTML/CSS all day long with two vertical windows without any hassle: the .html is opened first and the .css is opened second in a vertical split. After that, there is nothing left to do than edit away. Also, what is the point of using :only if your goal is to edit multiple files? – romainl Feb 12 '12 at 8:08

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