Miika Nissi (https://miikanissi.com)


Fast Fuzzy Finder for Vim with fzf and ripgrep

fzf is a lightning fast command-line fuzzy finder that runs asynchronously and can be integrated in Vim to search for files, file contents, and much more. In order to get the most out of the fuzzy finding capabilities of fzf, we will be pairing it with ripgrep and bat. This will improve the search results and add a nice syntax highlighted preview window. With the power of fzf and ripgrep we can efficiently jump from file to file and improve our workflow.

Setting up fzf in Vim

fzf has an official Vim plugin that can be installed with any Vim plugin manager. We can install fzf with vim-plug by adding this to our .vimrc and by running :PlugInstall:

Plug 'junegunn/fzf', { 'do': { -> fzf#install() } }
Plug 'junegunn/fzf.vim'

Useful fzf commands that work out of the box

Command List
:Files [PATH] Files (runs $FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND if defined)
:GFiles [OPTS] Git files (git ls-files)
:Buffers Open buffers
:Rg [PATTERN] rg search result (ALT-A to select all, ALT-D to deselect all)
:Tags [QUERY] Tags in the project (ctags -R)
:Marks Marks
:Windows Windows
:Snippets Snippets (UltiSnips)

Integrating ripgrep with fzf

By default fzf uses the find command to walk through a file hierarchy to locate files based on a search criteria. However, fzf supports other similar search tools such as fd, ripgrep, or the silver searcher for creating a list of files to traverse through. My preferred search tool to use is ripgrep. ripgrep is a fast line-oriented search tool that recursively searches the current directory for a regex pattern. ripgrep also automatically respects rules defined in .gitignore, .ignore, and .rgignore for cleaner search results.

We can override the default fzf find command by defining FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND in our environment. The easiest way to do this is by setting it in our .bashrc:

export FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND='rg --files --ignore-vcs --hidden'

This command passes three options to ripgrep to make ripgrep print the output of files, including hidden files while respecting rules set in .gitignore.

Now if we call :Files in Vim we should see a list of files based on the search results from rg --files --ignore-vcs --hidden.

We can also use ripgrep to interactively search for file contents. fzf supports this behaviour out of the box with the command :Rg.

fzf file previews inside Vim

It is very helpful to have file previews enabled in order to find the right file with fzf. This can be achieved by redefining the default fzf commands in our .vimrc:

command! -bang -nargs=? -complete=dir Files
    \ call fzf#vim#files(<q-args>, fzf#vim#with_preview(), <bang>0)
command! -bang -nargs=? -complete=dir GFiles
    \ call fzf#vim#gitfiles(<q-args>, fzf#vim#with_preview(), <bang>0)
command! -bang -nargs=* Rg
  \ call fzf#vim#grep(
  \   'rg --column --line-number --no-heading --color=always --smart-case -- '.shellescape(<q-args>), 1,
  \   fzf#vim#with_preview(), <bang>0)

Now if we call :Files, :GFiles, or :Rg and make our search, we can see file previews.

Syntax highlighting

By default fzf uses the cat command to show the file previews, but if we are mostly working on code, we might want to also see some syntax highlighting in our file previews. Luckily fzf supports this out of the box with an external program bat. All we need to do is to install it and fzf will automatically use it.

Afterword

Overall fzf has great performance and it has improved my programming workflow, especially when working with big projects. If you are interested in checking out my complete Vim configuration, go to https://github.com/miikanissi/dotfiles.

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