Tmux-like Zoom for Vim Panes

Zoom Vim panes/windows like Tmux's native pane zoom. Use a simple VimL snippet with no plugins required.


Maximizing productivity with Vim and Tmux for development requires maintaining a consistent set of bindings between the two platforms. When the only difference between similar commands is the <Prefix>, keeping a tidy workspace is substantially easier.

For example, binding <C-w>z in Vim and <C-a>z in Tmux to maximizing the selected pane lets you dig into tiny panes in busy workspaces.

Unfortunately though, Vim doesn't ship with any notion of a zoomed window. Finding a plugin or guide is hopeless with the only result I could dig up being 5 years out of date and super buggy.

The Snippet

The following snippet is my quick fix solution.

wincmd is used in place of <C-w> due to it not requiring access to normal mode making it usable in functions due to the lack of a CursorHold autocommand event.

We store whether the window is currently zoomed by checking the window-local variable w:zoomed. If we leave a window we execute an autocommand to unzoom the window by equally resizing all windows in the current tab with wincmd =

Now running <C-w>z will give you an approximation of the existing Tmux functionality.

function! UnzoomWindow()
  if !exists('w:zoomed')
    echo 'Could not unzoom'
    unlet w:zoomed
    wincmd =

" A toggleable zooming function that stores whether the current window has been
" zoomed by storing a window local variable `zoomed`
function! ZoomWindow()
  if exists('w:zoomed')
    call UnzoomWindow()
    let w:zoomed = 'TRUE'
    wincmd |
    wincmd _

" If the current window is zoomed, run the UnzoomWindow function
autocmd  WinLeave,TabLeave * if exists('w:zoomed') | silent! call UnzoomWindow() | endif

nnoremap <silent> <C-w>z :call ZoomWindow()<CR>

You can find my entire .vimrc on Github.