Austin Gebauer

Software Engineer | Hashicorp | Seattle, WA


Opening files with Vim from the Finder on macOS

Published May 24, 2020

I use Vim for most all the file editing I do on my Mac. I thought it’d be nice to be able to click on files in the Finder window and have them open up in my terminal for editing with Vim, so I wrote a bit of AppleScript to make it happen. This post shares how I set this up on my Mac so that you can do the same. The guide assumes that the terminal being used will be iTerm2 .

1. Create an Application using Automator

You’ll be using the Automator application that comes installed on macOS to create a new application which will open your Finder files with Vim.

First, open the Automator application. Next, select File->New or press ⌘-N. Choose the Application type when prompted.

Next, search for Run AppleScript in the action library located in the top left corner of the Automator application. Double-click the Run AppleScript item from the library.

Next, you’ll see that a Run AppleScript input section for code will appear. Copy and paste the entire contents of the AppleScript in the gist below ⬇️ into the input field.

You’ll then want to click the button with the small hammer 🔨 to make sure the AppleScript builds successfully.

Finally, select File->Save or press ⌘-S to save the new application. I chose to name the new application FinderVim.app.

2. Open files using FinderVim

Next, you’ll need to select what types of files you want to open using your new FinderVim application. Start by opening the finder and navigating to a file you’d like to edit using Vim by default.

I’ve selected a Go file to edit. Once you’ve found a file type you’d like to always edit using Vim from the Finder, right-click the file and select Get Info.

In the Get Info window, expand and select the drop-down menu in the Open with section. This is where you’ll select the default application to open the type of file you’ve chosen. Click the “Other…” option from the avilable selections.

Navigate to your Applications directory and select the new FinderVim application. Then click Add in the bottom right corner.

Finally, click the Change All... button below the Open With selection box of the Get Info window in order to change all similar documents to open using FinderVim.

That’s it! Click the file and see that it opens it open for editing in Vim on iTerm2. You can set FinderVim to open additional file types using the same process.