I just recently switched over to Mac. On windows I was using git through the msysgit project. When doing a git rebase -i I'm used to get a nice syntax highlighting in vim. I'm missing it badly now that I'm on Mac. How can I get it back?

  • Is it syntax highlighted when you do outside of vim?
    – Conner
    Sep 9, 2012 at 21:29
  • 2
    the colors for the git log etc do work, yes. I have git config --global color.ui true
    – Christoph
    Sep 9, 2012 at 21:32
  • Did you not copy your previous Vim config over? Sep 9, 2012 at 21:56
  • msysgitseemed to abstract all those difficulties away from the end user. All the highlighting worked just out of the box so until my first interactive rebase on my new MacBook I didn't even know that something like a vim config does even exist :)
    – Christoph
    Sep 9, 2012 at 22:34
  • as a side note, may i introduce you to vim-fugitive ? github.com/tpope/vim-fugitive (see the screencasts on vimcast.org vimcasts.org/episodes/…)
    – tshirtman
    Sep 9, 2012 at 23:11

3 Answers 3


I just figured out all I need is to create a ~/.vimrc file with a line that reads

syntax on
  • 3
    you should mark your answer as correct. It helped me for sure!
    – snowe2010
    Mar 14, 2016 at 17:18

For me the issue was git was using "vi" instead of "vim". Adding this to my .bashrc fixed it:

export EDITOR=vim

You probably need to set up an autocmd in your .vimrc to recognise the appropriate file as a rebase -i temporary:

autocmd BufNewFile,BufRead git-rebase-todo setf gitrebase

Then you just need to use a syntax file ~/.vim/syntax/gitrebase.vim and put in whatever highlighting commands match your preferences such as the one supplied with recents vims: https://github.com/vim/vim/blob/master/runtime/syntax/gitrebase.vim

  • I created the .vimrcat ~/ with the line that you postet and also created the gitrebase.vim file at ~/.vim/syntax/ with the content from that link. Then I reopened the terminal and tried it. It doesn't work. Anything I might be missing?
    – Christoph
    Sep 9, 2012 at 22:29
  • Ok, I just figured out all I need is that .vimrc file with a line that reads syntax on
    – Christoph
    Sep 9, 2012 at 22:40

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