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I'm trying to get vim to execute the script I'm editing with a key mapping, say ctrl + x, so I used this in vimrc

:map <C-x> :!exec_file %<CR>

To pass the file name to a script I wrote which parses the extension and calls the appropriate interpreter, this works great so far.

However, I was wondering if I can call bash directly with the script name and have it execute it since most scripts I edit have a shebang line, so I tried this mapping instead:

:map <C-x> :!bash %<CR>

But it doesn't work, is it possible to execute a script by passing its name to bash ?

share|improve this question
IIRC bash will try to execute Python scripts despite a different shebang line this way, so I'm not sure this actually makes sense. If your script file is executable, wouldn't :!% suffice? – Daniel Beck Feb 5 '13 at 10:55
@DanielBeck yes this is exactly what's happening, any way around that ? also not all scripts are executable and I don't want to chmod them... – mux Feb 5 '13 at 10:57
Do the same thing the OS does when trying to execute a script file: Parse the shebang line to determine the interpreter, then call it. Essentially what your exec_file does, but without having to rely on the extension. Maybe use this only as a fallback when there's no shebang line. FWIW, shebang lines generally only make sense when you want to make a script executable, as calling interpreters will file arguments always works. – Daniel Beck Feb 5 '13 at 10:59
Your bash mapping works here. I use the following mapping to invoke shebang, assuming the script is executable: map <f4> :!%:p<cr>. :p will expand to the full path of the script. – Thor Feb 5 '13 at 11:03
@Thor yes but not all scripts I edit are executable yet, sometimes I open vim and write the script and want to execute before chmod'ing it or I open a non-executable script, but I think I understand now why bash doesn't execute the script. – mux Feb 5 '13 at 11:08
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Vim already uses a shell (see :set shell?) to execute the external command; scripts with shebang lines should work just fine. The canonical way to execute the current buffer is


(Prepending ./ to deal with the current directory not being part of PATH. This assumes that the script is already executable (:!chmod +x %, maybe done in a mapping / ftplugin.)

You can re-execute with just :!!. Also, there are fancier solutions for executing (partial, unsaved, etc.) buffer contents in external interpreters; check the plugins section of

share|improve this answer
it seems that I have to chmod the script if I want this to work, thanks. – mux Feb 5 '13 at 11:12
Yeah, you probably need to chmod later anyway, so why not do this from the editor as you start writing it. – Ingo Karkat Feb 5 '13 at 11:19
I was trying to save the extra step, anyway, I think I will stick to the script way and maybe edit it to read the shebang line as suggested by Daniel, this allows me to execute scripts that are non-executable or don't have a shebang at all. – mux Feb 5 '13 at 11:24

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