In GVIM for Windows I know you are supposed to be able to add something to the $VIM/_vimrc file in order to customize the start up and I have managed how to figure out a few neat tricks with that but I can't figure out how to change the default color settings. Right now every time I start vim, I have to type

:color pablo

before I can do any work (black on white bothers me when coding in anything but Java). I feel like this is 12 extra keystrokes I shouldn't have to be making every time I start vim. Is there a way I can have vim start using this setting by default?

  • 1
    In Ubuntu make a file with the name .vimrc in your Home directory if it doesn't exist, add colorscheme pablo in it and save it. Now restart GVim. For Windows put this file with the name _gvimrc in C:/Documents and Settings/<your-username>. See eckes answer to this question.
    – Dante
    Jul 31, 2016 at 1:14

3 Answers 3



colorscheme pablo

to your _vimrc file.

  • Thanks for responding so quickly. I couldn't find it anywhere in the help documents but maybe I wasn't looking hard enough this is a huge burden of my OCD mind. Aug 20, 2009 at 14:44

nagnatron's answer is right, but if you need a little more information ...

"A Byte of Vim" is a book which aims to help you to learn how to use the Vim editor, even if all you know is how to use the computer keyboard.

  • 2
    Generally it is best to add to an existing answer as a comment rahter than as a separate answer.
    – EBGreen
    Aug 20, 2009 at 14:38
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    Wow this is one of the most useful links I've seen in a while thanks. Aug 20, 2009 at 14:46

For me it was necessary to do:


if has('gui_running')
  au VimEnter * colorscheme desert

The if has('gui_running') makes sure I keep the default color settings if I'm running vim in Cmder (conemu). My setup may be funny though, I have vim installed by scoop (a package manager for windows I recommend you check out if you haven't heard of it).

  • 2
    A potentially better option for your gui-specific Vim settings may be to put them in the .gvimrc (or _gvimrc on Windows) file.
    – 8bittree
    Jul 12, 2023 at 15:51

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