mike-hearn / vim-combosearch

Vim plugin that combines filename search (find) and code search (grep) into a single command

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This plugin extends fzf.vim to provide a combined filename search and code fuzzy search in a single interface.

(Note: Due to bash requirement this is currently Linux/MacOS/WSL only.)

combosearch example

TOC: Introduction | Requirements | Installation | Usage | Settings/Configuration | FAQ


vim-combosearch combines filename, file contents and line numbers into a single filterable list.

One search of a pattern returns:

  • All filenames matching pattern (similar to ctrl-p)
  • All code lines matching pattern (similar to :grep)
  • All lines contained in any file matching pattern

This involves fuzzy filtering through a lot of files, so to reduce the amount, the search gets executed after three (3) characters have been entered, then characters 4 through n use fzf to filter the results.

Note: Although functional, this is largely intended as a proof-of-concept of a type of code search I'd like to see implemented in every code editor (hopefully implemented better than this, which is sort of a hack job).


Currently MacOS/Linux only due to the search script using bash (though Windows users should be able to use WSL).


  1. Install the fzf.vim plugin
  2. Install vim-combosearch
  3. Add let g:combosearch_trigger_key = "<c-p>" to your vim config (if you do not set this, the combosearch can still be run with :ComboSearch)

Sample .vimrc:

" This will auto-install vim-plug; remove if you already have it
if empty(glob('~/.vim/autoload/plug.vim'))
  silent !curl -fLo ~/.vim/autoload/plug.vim --create-dirs
    \ https://raw.githubusercontent.com/junegunn/vim-plug/master/plug.vim
  autocmd VimEnter * PlugInstall --sync | source $MYVIMRC

call plug#begin('~/.vim/plugged')

" Optional if you want vim to auto-install the fzf binary
Plug 'junegunn/fzf', { 'dir': '~/.fzf', 'do': './install --all' }

" Required
Plug 'junegunn/fzf.vim'  " Place before vim-combosearch
Plug 'mike-hearn/vim-combosearch'

call plug#end()

" Sets the key mapping to trigger search
let g:combosearch_trigger_key = "<c-p>"


You can either:

  • Run it directly with :ComboSearch
  • Manually map a key to :ComboSearch
  • Set let g:combosearch_trigger_key = "<c-p>" (or whatever key you choose) to let the plugin handle the mapping



Set the key mapping to trigger the combosearch input.

Because the default is set to none, until it's mapped you will have to call :ComboSearch.

Default: None

" Recommended binding
let g:combosearch_trigger_key = "<c-p>"


Because combosearch can potentially end up filtering a lot of lines, the actual search doesn't get kicked off until after three characters have been typed (by default; see screenshots for this functionality in action) to prevent the search script from returning too many results.

Depending on the speed of your CPU/hard drive, you may want to increase or decrease this limit.

Default: 3

let g:combosearch_pattern_length = 3


Set to 1 for fzf to default to accepting only exact (--exact) matches (this gives more accurate filter results, but is less forgiving). Set to 0 to turn exact filtering off.

Default: 1

" Example usage
let g:combosearch_fzf_exact_match = 1

Frequently asked questions?

What problems is this actually fixing? What's the point?

The #1 reason I made this was to reduce my own cognitive load when jumping around files.

  • Eliminating the question: do I need to use ctrl-p or :grep?
  • Eliminating the question: at what point can I safely hit <enter> when typing a pattern to search with :Ag
  • Eliminating the need to decide whether to search filename then code (example search: utils models class CharField) or code then filename (example search: class CharField utils models). Both are equally effective and return the same result.

With this search method, I can just run :ComboSearch and start typing whatever my brain thinks of first.

Why doesn't this work on Windows / in Gvim?

The hard work in this script is done with search.sh, which requires bash. If you have any ideas for how to move that script into either VimL, or some other cross-platform scripting language, hit me with a PR.


Vim plugin that combines filename search (find) and code search (grep) into a single command


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