I share my VIM configuration file between several computers. However, I want some settings to be specific for certain computers.

For example, font sizes on the high-res laptop should be different to the low-res desktop. And more importantly, I want gVIM on Windows to behave more windowsy and MacVim on OSX to behave more maccy and gVIM on Linux to just behave like it always does. (That might be a strange sentiment, but I am very used to switch mental modes when switching OSes)

Is there a way to make a few settings in the .vimrc machine- or OS-dependent?

8 Answers 8


OS detection in .vimrc:

if has('win32')
elseif has('mac')
elseif has('unix')
  • 4
    Also useful: has('gui_running') if you need to differentiate between tty mode and GUI mode. Oct 1, 2010 at 13:20
  • 11
    The has() function tests the presence of Vim features. There is no 'linux' feature. The proper argument is 'unix'. Also, the proper argument for OS-X is 'macunix'. There is also a 'mac' feature, but I don't know whether has('mac') is true for all Macs or just pre-OS-X Macs. See :help feature-list for the full list.
    – garyjohn
    Oct 1, 2010 at 15:14
  • 1
    Yes, has('unix'). My mistake. Oct 1, 2010 at 17:14
  • A very late answer, but yes, has('mac') triggers in OSX for me.
    – Diablo-D3
    Mar 28, 2015 at 9:13
  • 1
    I've tested vim 1) that comes with OS X, and 2) that I installed via Gentoo Prefix (something similar to Homebrew), and 3) that comes from MacVim. Only the one comes from MacVim will correctly return true for has("mac"). My guess is that they used some patch that actually make the feature test work. If you do rely on has("mac") test, do some test to make sure it's supported on your vim.
    – yegle
    Oct 10, 2015 at 4:26

To test for a particular machine, you can test the output of the hostname command. For example,

let hostname = substitute(system('hostname'), '\n', '', '')
if hostname == "tigger"
elseif hostname == "pooh"

You could also test the value of available environment variables:

if $HOSTNAME == "tigger"
elseif $HOSTNAME == "pooh"

The $DISPLAY variable can also be useful.

  • 15
    hostname() will do this, eg: if hostname() == 'tigger'..., without having to make the system call.
    – tvon
    Apr 15, 2011 at 16:03
  • The result for system('hostname') was machine.mycompany.com\n, so I had to change the substitute command to substitute(system('hostname'), '\.\_.*$', '', '').
    – JPaget
    Oct 20, 2015 at 18:35

I have this snippet in my vimrc:

let s:host_vimrc = $HOME . '/.' . hostname() . '.vimrc'                                                                                                                               
if filereadable(s:host_vimrc)                                                                                                                                                        
  execute 'source ' . s:host_vimrc                                                                                                                                                   

This simply executes source $HOME/.$HOSTNAME.vimrc if it exists. I've used hostname() and concatenation, you could also use the more succinct expand('$HOME/.$HOSTNAME.vimrc') if you know that $HOSTNAME is always set.


The previous answer about OS detection does not detect OS X in MacVim for me (and neither does using has("macunix") as the documentation suggests it should).

Here's what I use to distiguish between Windows and OS X:

if has("win32")
  "Windows options here
  if has("unix")
    let s:uname = system("uname")
    if s:uname == "Darwin\n"
      "Mac options here

Note that has("win32") worked for me, even in 64 bit Vim on 64 bit Windows.

You could also use similar tests of uname within the if has("unix") block to distinguish other flavours of Unix. Just run uname or uname -a from the command-line to see what you need to compare s:uname with. See also :h matchstr() if you need to compare just a part of uname's output.


With a lot of machines, listing all hostnames in .vimrc can become tedious, it might be easier to distinguish between different unix flavors:

" set font when running on Solaris
if (match(system('uname -s'), 'SunOS') >= 0)  
   set guifont=*   " fixes "E665: Cannot start GUI, no valid font found"
  • Unfortunately, this breaks on windows machines.
    – oligofren
    Aug 23, 2015 at 19:26

You could just put the OS-specific stuff in a custom .gvimrc for each machine, and use a common .vimrc on all of them. Both files are read when GVim starts, only .vimrc is read when the non-gui Vim starts.


Regarding separation between Linux and Windows - you can simply put different settings in .vimrc and _vimrc, accordingly.


settings here


settings here

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