Vim plugin for the_silver_searcher, 'ag', a replacement for the Perl module / CLI script 'ack'


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This plugin is a front for ag, A.K.A. the_silver_searcher. Ag can be used as a replacement for 153% of the uses of ack. This plugin will allow you to run ag from vim, and shows the results in a split window.


See the_silver_searcher’s README for its installation instructions (if you haven’t installed it already).

You have to first install ag, itself. On Mac+Homebrew, Gentoo Linux, several others, there’s package named the_silver_searcher, but if your OS/distro don’t have one, the GitHub repo installs fine:

Vim has various ways of installing plugins, the standard way is in the documentation, but most people use a plugin to manage their plugins. If you don’t already have a preferred plugin manager plugin, why not try one of the following? - vim-plug - vim-pathogen - Vundle.vim - Or, if you don’t use any sort of Vim plugin management:

  cd ~/.vim/bundle && git clone ag && echo "set runtimepath^=~/.vim/bundle/ag" >> ~/.vimrc

Then open vim and run :helptags ~/.vim/bundle/ag/doc.


You can specify a custom ag name and path in your .vimrc like so:

let g:ag.prg="<custom-ag-path-goes-here> --vimgrep"

You can configure ag.vim to always start searching from your project root instead of the cwd

let g:ag.working_path_mode="r"


:Ag [options] {pattern} [{directory}]

Search recursively in {directory} (which defaults to the current directory) for the {pattern}.

Files containing the search term will be listed in the split window, along with the line number of the occurrence, once for each occurrence. [Enter] on a line in this window will open the file, and place the cursor on the matching line.

Just like where you use :grep, :grepadd, :lgrep, and :lgrepadd, you can use :Ag, :AgAdd, :LAg, and :LAgAdd respectively. (See doc/ag.txt, or install and :h Ag for more information.)

Shell mimic

For those who like how ag performs on shell use

:[N]AgGroup {pattern} [{directory}]

see this screencast

screencast of AgGroup


Some characters have special meaning, and need to be escaped your search pattern. For instance, ‘#’. You have to escape it like this :Ag '\\\#define foo' to search for #define foo. (From blueyed in issue #5.)

Sometimes git grep is even faster, though in my experience it’s not noticeably so.

Keyboard Shortcuts

In any window you can issue

<Leader>ag to search word under cursor, or visual selection

In the quickfix window, you can use:

e    to open file and close the quickfix window
o    to open (same as enter)
go   to preview file (open but maintain focus on ag.vim results)
t    to open in new tab
T    to open in new tab silently
h    to open in horizontal split
H    to open in horizontal split silently
v    to open in vertical split
gv   to open in vertical split silently
q    to close the quickfix window


This Vim plugin is derived (and by derived, I mean copied, almost entirely) from milesz’s ack.vim, which I also recommend installing since you might be in a situation where you have ack but not ag, and don’t want to stop to install ag. Also, ack supports --type, and a few other features.

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