Getting a class and method overview in vim with the TagList plugin

Warning: This blog post was written a long time ago and might be no longer relevant.

TagList plugin for vim allows you to view list of classes, methods, variables, constants and other tags from index file generated by exuberant ctags. TagList shows tags in a context of files you edit and groups them by type. You can jump to a chosen tag, open it in a new tab or window and do many other useful things.

TagList plugin for vim


As usual, get the plugin from the vim website and unzip it into your ~/.vim directory.

To index help topics run vim and type:

:helptags ~/.vim/doc

Thanks to that you'll be able to read :help taglist.txt inside the editor.

Note: TagList plugin uses index generated by exuberant ctags and therefore you need to install it first. I explained how to do it in "Jumping to a class, function and variable definitions in vim with exuberant ctags".


You can show TagList window by typing:


Typing it again or pressing q closes the window.

Of course rather than typing that command over and over again it's better to use shortcut. To use ctrl+l add the following line into your ~/.vimrc file:

nmap <silent> <c-l> :TlistToggle


There are many configuration options you can set in ~/.vimrc to customize the plugin. You'll get a total overview by reading help in vim:

:help taglist.txt

I set the window title to display file name and tag my cursor is currently on:

set title titlestring=%<%f\ %([%{Tlist_Get_Tagname_By_Line()}]%)

I also set several other options to tune the TagList behavior a bit:

let Tlist_Use_Horiz_Window=0
let Tlist_Use_Right_Window = 1
let Tlist_Compact_Format = 1
let Tlist_Exit_OnlyWindow = 1
let Tlist_GainFocus_On_ToggleOpen = 1
let Tlist_File_Fold_Auto_Close = 1
let Tlist_Inc_Winwidth = 0
let Tlist_Close_On_Select = 1
let Tlist_Process_File_Always = 1
Jakub Zalas

Jakub Zalas

Agile PHP Developer, addicted to BDD and Symfony