I'm using the Vim text editor GVIM on a Windows-based machine.

How can I show the line numbers? Provided that I'm not using it in the console?

  • Not an answer to your question but might be helpful still. I use :set ruler which shows cursor position.
    – johnny
    Jan 25, 2011 at 19:04

3 Answers 3


Run :set number to add a left margin with the line numbers. Use :help 'nu to see help on the topic, including changing the margin size.

For some permanence, place the command, without the leading colon, in ~/.vimrc on UNIX/Linux based systems or in %HOMEPATH%\_vimrc.

  • add 'and if you like your settings save them to .vimrc'
    – akira
    Jan 25, 2011 at 13:39
  • @Arcege, @akira. I'm actually new to this. I ran :set number on VIM, and got a black blank screen with "1" written at the top left I think indicates the line number. How can I make this effect occur to GVIM? @akira, you mentioned saving to .vimrc. Will that do the job? If so, ho can I make this save? Thanks.
    – Simplicity
    Jan 25, 2011 at 13:59
  • 1
    Since you are on Windows, the file might be _vimrc (underscore instead of a '.'). It would reside in the user directory (not desktop): C:\Users\myusername\ or C:\Documents and Settings\myusername\, check the the help (:help vimrc). Any of the statements that start with a colon (':') can be placed in that file (without the colon). The same settings and vimrc are used for gvim.
    – Arcege
    Jan 25, 2011 at 14:45
  • @SWEngineer: open gvim and type ':set number' .. now you have the 1 in the top left corner as well :) check out what @Arcege said about the place of _vimrc and read ':help _vimrc'
    – akira
    Jan 25, 2011 at 16:13
  • @Arcege. I found _vminfo at the location you suggested, and there was :set numer, but I couldn't see the line numbers. Why is that? Thanks.
    – Simplicity
    Jan 25, 2011 at 19:48
:set number

will add the line numbers to the left hand side of the buffer.

You can put that setting, along with any others you enjoy inside your .vimrc file and they will automatically get loaded whenever you start an instance of VIM.

.gvimrc is generally reserved for specific settings you want loaded when you open gvim as opposed to terminal sessions of vim or vi. More often than not this file has graphical considerations that the X server can handle.

:set nu 

should display the line numbers

:set nonu  or :set nu!

will make the line numbers vanish.

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