Entering insert mode automatically when editing git commit messages

If I do a git commit, when Vim opens, I want to be in insert mode straight away.

I noticed that the filetype is set to gitcommit when editing, so I thought I could achieve this with an autocommand.

au BufRead gitcommit startinsert!

This doesn’t work though, what am I doing wrong?


I settled on au FileType gitcommit execute "normal! O" | startinsert to add a new line above the current and then enter insert mode ready for entering a message.

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  • 3 responses to “Entering insert mode automatically when editing git commit messages”

      benjifisher said:

      In :au Event pattern command, the pattern is usually matched against the buffer name. Instead of BufRead gitcommit, you could use BufRead COMMIT_EDITMSG. If you want to match against the filetype option, then use the FileType event.

      I tend to write multi-line commit messages, and I have an autocommand (from vimrc_example.vim) that does

      exe "normal! g`\""

      whenever I enter a new buffer, so how about

      au FileType gitcommit 1 | startinsert

      to go to the first line before entering Insert mode? Now that I have tested it, I think I will keep it. 🙂

      Explosion Pills said:

      An alternate approach:

      export GIT_EDITOR='vim +startinsert'

      or add ! in the end to start from the end of message (useful, when using git hooks for message completion)

      export GIT_EDITOR='vim +startinsert!'
      Wumpus Q. Wumbley said:

      This is probably a bit more complex than it needs to be, but you can do this with an individual filetype plugin:

      $ mkdir -p ~/.vim/ftplugin/gitcommit
      $ echo 'startinsert!' > !$/git-commit-insert.vim
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