Right now, I make everyone do ~/.vimrc and put their settings there.

How can I make a global, default .vimrc for new users?

6 Answers 6


usually by creating /etc/vimrc or /etc/vim/vimrc. Depends on your version of vim and linux/unix

  • I am using CentOS
    – Alex
    Nov 1, 2009 at 2:12
  • 9
    should be /etc/vimrc on CentOs Nov 1, 2009 at 2:16
  • 1
    It is /etc/vimrc
    – Alex
    Nov 1, 2009 at 2:21
  • Doesn't work on Solaris
    – majkinetor
    Nov 15, 2016 at 12:22
  • 8
    I'd personally suggest /etc/vim/vimrc.local, at least on Ubuntu 16. It gets sourced by /etc/vim/vimrc and means you don't have to hack at the default file. Jan 31, 2018 at 11:25

to create a default ~/.vimrc for all new users, you should be able to drop it into /etc/skel

If I recall correctly, that provides the template for new user's home directories.


In Debian, it appears the file you are looking for is:


It might be different in a different distro (though I think that is not much likely).

Good luck.

  • 11
    By default it sources /etc/vim/vimrc.local which would be safer for updates
    – vvondra
    Nov 5, 2015 at 14:05

See :help system-vimrc:

For Unix, MS-DOS, MS-Windows, OS/2, VMS, Macintosh, RISC-OS and Amiga the system vimrc file is read for initializations. The path of this file is shown with the ":version" command. Mostly it's "$VIM/vimrc". Note that this file is ALWAYS read in 'compatible' mode, since the automatic resetting of 'compatible' is only done later. Add a ":set nocp" command if you like.

So, put your system configurations in this file. Type :help version in vim to see where, or echo $VIM at the shell to see if $VIM is defined. (Note that you may have to set $VIM for all users, such as in a system bashrc file.)


for MacVim, it's at /usr/local/Cellar/macvim/7.4-98/MacVim.app/Contents/Resources/vim/vimrc


Vim appears to have changed to loading a defaults.vim file last in the absence of ~/.vimrc. Until this is addressed, I figured I need to load defaults.vim in /etc/vim/vimrc.local the way a sample vimrc_example.vim shows, set a flag to prevent the automatic loading of defaults.vim last and then set own preferences in the same file.

 " Get the defaults that most users want.
 source $VIMRUNTIME/defaults.vim
+let g:skip_defaults_vim = 1


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