If I open a file with vim dir/to/my/file.c how can I easily open the directory dir/to/my in vim's filebrowser?

10 Answers 10


Try :Ex[plore]. From :help Ex:

:Explore will open the local-directory browser on the current file's directory (or on directory [dir] if specified). The window will be split only if the file has been modified, otherwise the browsing window will take over that window. Normally the splitting is taken horizontally.


I personally prefer the:


command. It does the split window for you, and drops you into the current directory.

:Sex dir/to/my

works too.

  • 122
    This is good but the command is so hard to remember.
    – Gavin
    Jun 9, 2013 at 20:24
  • 20
    You can also use :Vex to open the directory in a vertical split.
    – Chuan Ma
    Jun 25, 2014 at 16:56
  • 3
    Vex and Sex are beautiful, that's exactly what I'm looking for online, thank you!
    – Zen
    Oct 10, 2014 at 13:13
  • 6
    And it turns out that Tex was exactly what I was looking for (rather than tabe.) Apr 28, 2016 at 13:42
  • 4
    Welp, there goes my virginity. Nov 8, 2017 at 8:08

You could use:

:e %:h

More info on expansions is here: http://vimdoc.sourceforge.net/htmldoc/eval.html#expand()


As already mentioned, you can just do ":Explore" and it will open the file explorer for the directory of the current file.

However, if you need to explicitly specify the directory, you can use ctrl+r on the :-command line to read the contents of any register in, and the % register is the current filename, including a path if necessary. So, just do :e ctrl+r% then backspace over the filename, and press enter.

There are other ways to do it, but this is the method I usually use.

  • 7
    I know this is way old, but you can also do :e %[tab] which will expand % for you.
    – Brian
    Dec 7, 2011 at 15:20

For opening Windows Explorer showing current file's directory :

:!start explorer /select,%:p

(Source : http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Open_Windows_Explorer_showing_directory_of_current_buffer )

:e `dirname %`

dirname expands to the directory in which current file is.


Just :E should do it. Tested on neovim.

  • How do we go back to the file after :E?
    – user674669
    Jan 5, 2021 at 5:16
  • Use this command :Rex Oct 30, 2021 at 9:42

:e dir/to/my/

:e . opens the directory you initially launched vim from.

Vim browser 'c' sets the working directory.

I'm not sure if there is a way to automatically jump to the directory of the file you are editing.


If you edit with the pwd command on unix it will open the current directory you are in.

:e `pwd`

This will not work like you want it if you did a cd while in vim.


if you want to actually get a shell in it you'll need to :lcd %:p:h run :shell and then restore the working directory after you've exited

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