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I use cmake, which produces makefiles with nice colourful output, but when I :make from Vim (well, actually MacVim, which is essentially GVim but I figure that doesn't make much difference), the output isn't coloured.

Is there a way I can declare the Vim terminal type as xterm-colour, or something, so that commands output colour control characters? (or does Vim not support this?)

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    The Conque plugin for Vim is a terminal emulator (for builds that include Python support; MacVim qualifies). You could use it to run make and have its output interpreted (though I have seen reports of flakiness in Conque’s terminal emulation), but you would lose some of the integration provided by :make (i.e. automatic quickfix parsing; though you could set up some automation to parse (part of) the resulting buffer with :cbuffer). – Chris Johnsen Jul 13 '11 at 4:05
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The terminal used by gvim is a very dumb terminal. Among other things, it doesn't support ANSI color sequences. See

:help gui-shell

for a little on this. If you launch a shell from gvim (:sh), you can send ANSI color sequences to the "terminal" (e.g., ls --color=always) and you will see the escape sequences themselves, not colors.

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