Updated: 2020-01-18

In this post, I want to share how to install and configure terminal Neovim on Windows 101. For configurations of nvim-qt on Windows, check this post.

TL;DR: After nearly one year of using Neovim on Windows, I find that the best experience one can get on Windows is to use GUI Neovim client such as Nvim-qt or fvim, not the terminal Nvim.

Before we begin

The builtin CMD on Windows is awful and lacks functionalities of a normal Linux terminal. It is strongly recommended to use a better terminal emulator, for example, Cmder, which installs Git for Windows and other utilities for you.


You can download the latest binary release from Neovim GitHub repo. Then extract the package and add the extracted folder to your PATH so that you can invoke nvim on the command line.

See here on other ways to install Neovim on Windows.


Where to put the configuration file?

According to Neovim official documentation, you should put neovim config file init.vim under the directory ~/AppData/Local/nvim.

Install plugin-manager vim-plug

To install vim-plug on Windows, open a PowerShell terminal (not Windows CMD), and execute the following command:

md ~\AppData\Local\nvim\autoload
$uri = 'https://raw.githubusercontent.com/junegunn/vim-plug/master/plug.vim'
(New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadFile(

In Neovim config file, use the following settings for vim-plug:

call plug#begin('~/AppData/Local/nvim/plugged')
" below are some vim plugin for demonstration purpose
Plug 'joshdick/onedark.vim'
Plug 'iCyMind/NeoSolarized'

Plug 'vim-airline/vim-airline'
Plug 'vim-airline/vim-airline-themes'
call plug#end()

When we run command :PlugInstall, all the plugins will be installed under ~/AppData/Local/nvim/plugged. We can also change this directory to where we want.


The Neovim window content is not cleared when I exit

When I exit Neovim, the text content in Neovim is still shown in the command line, wasting a lot of spaces. How do we clear the Neovim window content after exit?

After some research, I have finally found a solution that works for Cmder. Open Cmder settings and go to Startup -> Environment, add the following settings:

set TERM=xterm-256color

Restart Cmder and the issue should disappear. More discussions here.

Can not enter Neovim if there are errors in config file

If there are errors in your Neovim config file, during startup, Neovim will prompt you:

Press ENTER or type command to continue

However, pressing Enter key has no effect. Neovim will hang unless you press Ctrl-C to terminate this process.

To circumvent this issue, according to here, try to open Neovim with the following option:

nvim --cmd silent!

Some shortcuts do not work

Shortcut conflict with Cmder

For Cmder, Ctrl-W is used to close a console. Unfortunately, this shortcut is also used by Neovim as window switching prefix. Maybe there are some other conflicting shortcuts, for example, Ctrl-V does work like Linux.

To disable the conflicting shortcuts in Cmder, go to Keys & Macro part to change or disable a shortcut.

<Ctrl-6> does not work?

On Linux, we can use Ctrl-^(actually Ctrl-6) to switch buffers. But on Windows, I find that using <Ctrl-6> for buffer switching does not work in terminal nvim. I try to map Ctrl-6 to Ctrl-^:

nnoremap <C-6> <C-^>

It doesn’t work either. Until I find the solution , I use Ctrl+shift+6 to switch buffers.

My complete configurations for Neovim can be found in my GitHub repo. For How to configure Neovim for Python development, check this post.


  1. It should work for Windows 7 as well. ↩︎