How to Quickly Rename Files in Vim

The purpose of this guide📝 is to streamline the process of renaming files frequently in Vim without using NERDTree, which can be slow. The solution involves using the Vinegar plugin along with the built-in file explorer. Additionally, we will configure Vim to return to the previous window after renaming a file by pressing Enter.

Pavol Kutaj
1 min readMar 26, 2024
Open → Rename to
  • Open the file you want to rename in Vim.
  • Use the Vinegar plugin by pressing - to "hop up to the directory listing and seek the file you just came from"
  • → you are immediately on the opened file, the one you need to rename! No more look-ups. Wonderful!
  • Press R to start the renaming process and edit the filename as needed.
  • → you do not need to rewrite the whole filename, that is prepopulated; just make changes where you need
  • Press Enter to confirm the new filename and return to the previous window.
  • To configure Vim to return to the previous window after renaming, add let g:netrw_chgwin = 1 to your .vimrc file.
  • Or, after renaming a file, you can return to the previous window by pressing Ctrl + ^.




Pavol Kutaj

Today I Learnt | Infrastructure Support Engineer at with a passion for cloud infrastructure/terraform/python/docs. More at