Vim documentation: sign

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*sign.txt*      For Vim version 6.3.  Last change: 2004 May 22

		  VIM REFERENCE MANUAL    by Gordon Prieur
					  and Bram Moolenaar

Sign Support Features				*sign-support*

1. Introduction				|sign-intro|
2. Commands				|sign-commands|

{Vi does not have any of these features}
{only available when compiled with the |+signs| feature}


1. Introduction					*sign-intro* *signs*

When a debugger or other IDE tool is driving an editor it needs to be able
to give specific highlights which quickly tell the user useful information
about the file. One example of this would be a debugger which had an icon
in the left-hand column denoting a breakpoint. Another example might be an
arrow representing the Program Counter (PC). The sign features allow both
placement of a sign, or icon, in the left-hand side of the window and
definition of a highlight which will be applied to that line. Displaying the
sign as an image is most likely only feasible in gvim (although Sun
Microsystem's dtterm does support this its the only terminal emulator I know
of which does).  A text sign and the highlight should be feasible in any color
terminal emulator.

Signs and highlights are not useful just for debuggers. Sun's Visual
WorkShop uses signs and highlights to mark build errors and SourceBrowser
hits. Additionally, the debugger supports 8 to 10 different signs and
highlight colors. |workshop|  Same for Netbeans |netbeans|.

There are two steps in using signs:

1. Define the sign.  This specifies the image, text and highlighting.  For
   example, you can define a "break" sign with an image of a stop roadsign and
   text "!!".

2. Place the sign.  This specifies the file and line number where the sign is
   displayed.  A defined sign can be placed several times in different lines
   and files.

When signs are defined for a file, Vim will automatically add a column of two
characters to display them in.  When the last sign is unplaced the column
disappears again.  The color of the column is set with the SignColumn group
|hl-SignColumn|.  Example to set the color:

	:highlight SignColumn guibg=darkgrey


2. Commands					*sign-commands* *:sig* *:sign*

Here is an example that places a sign piet, displayed with the text ">>", in
line 23 of the current file:
	:sign define piet text=>> texthl=Search
	:exe ":sign place 2 line=23 name=piet file=" . expand("%:p")

And here is the command to delete it again:
	:sign unplace 2

Note that the ":sign" command cannot be followed by another command or a
comment.  If you do need that, use the |:execute| command.

DEFINING A SIGN.			*:sign-define* *E255* *E160* *E612*

:sign define {name} {argument}...
		Define a new sign or set attributes for an existing sign.
		The {name} can either be a number (all digits) or a name
		starting with a non-digit.
		About 120 different signs can be defined.

		Accepted arguments:

		Define the file name where the bitmap can be found.  Should be
		a full path.  The bitmap should fit in the place of two
		characters.  This is not checked.  If the bitmap is too big it
		will cause redraw problems.  Only GTK 2 can scale the bitmap
		to fit the space available.
			toolkit		supports 
			GTK 1		pixmap (.xpm)
			GTK 2		many
			Motif		pixmap (.xpm)

		Highlighting group used for the whole line the sign is placed
		in.  Most useful is defining a background color.

	text={text}						*E239*
		Define the text that is displayed when there is no icon or the
		GUI is not being used.  Only printable characters are allowed
		and they must occupy one or two display cells.

		Highlighting group used for the text item.

DELETING A SIGN						*:sign-undefine* *E155*

:sign undefine {name}
		Deletes a previously defined sign.  If signs with this {name}
		are still placed this will cause trouble.

LISTING SIGNS						*:sign-list* *E156*

:sign list	Lists all defined signs and their attributes.

:sign list {name}
		Lists one defined sign and its attributes.

PLACING SIGNS						*:sign-place* *E158*

:sign place {id} line={lnum} name={name} file={fname}
		Place sign defined as {name} at line {lnum} in file {fname}.

		The file {fname} must already be loaded in a buffer.  The
		exact file name must be used, wildcards, $ENV and ~ are not
		expanded, white space must not be escaped.  Trailing white
		space is ignored.

		The sign is remembered under {id}, this can be used for
		further manipulation.  {id} must be a number.
		It's up to the user to make sure the {id} is used only once in
		each file (if it's used several times unplacing will also have
		to be done several times and making changes may not work as

:sign place {id} line={lnum} name={name} buffer={nr}
		Same, but use buffer {nr}.

:sign place {id} name={name} file={fname}
		Change the placed sign {id} in file {fname} to use the defined
		sign {name}.  See remark above about {fname} |:sign-fname|.
		This can be used to change the displayed sign without moving
		it (e.g., when the debugger has stopped at a breakpoint).

:sign place {id} name={name} buffer={nr}
		Same, but use buffer {nr}.

REMOVING SIGNS						*:sign-unplace* *E159*

:sign unplace {id} file={fname}
		Remove the previously placed sign {id} from file {fname}.
		See remark above about {fname} |:sign-fname|.

:sign unplace {id} buffer={nr}
		Same, but use buffer {nr}.

:sign unplace {id}
		Remove the previously placed sign {id} from all files it
		appears in.

:sign unplace *
		Remove all placed signs.

:sign unplace
		Remove the placed sign at the cursor position.


:sign place file={fname}
		List signs placed in file {fname}.
		See remark above about {fname} |:sign-fname|.

:sign place buffer={nr}
		List signs placed in buffer {nr}.

:sign place	List placed signs in all files.

JUMPING TO A SIGN					*:sign-jump* *E157*

:sign jump {id} file={fname}
		Open the file {fname} or jump to the window that contains
		{fname} and position the cursor at sign {id}.
		See remark above about {fname} |:sign-fname|.
		If the file isn't displayed in window and the current file can
		not be |abandon|ed this fails.

:sign jump {id} buffer={nr}
		Same, but use buffer {nr}.

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