Removing Underline from Vim Hilighted CursorLineNr

If you’re like me, you work hard to get your editor to look and act just as you like it.
When something changes without your permission, and now your editor has started looking like it’s gone rogue, that’s bad. I’m not sure what drove this change, but some time ago my hi CursorLineNr value in my color theme started displaying an underline in my editor. It kinda drove me nuts. Even now, when I log into a new system where my syntax coloring files have not been updated, I have to make the change to de-gunk my line number on the cursor line. Here’r are some notes.

What files to change

In your .vimrc, you normally refer to a syntax color file. Mine is xoria256.vim. It’s located in $HOME/.vim/colors/xoria256.vim. (Your installation may vary.) In your .vimrc there should be a line that goes something like colorscheme xoria256 or whatever the name of your color theme is. But what really needs modifying is the colorscheme file itself.

Here is what mine looks like:

 1	" Vim color file
 2	"
 3	" Name:       xoria256.vim
 4	" Version:    1.6
 5	" Maintainer:	Dmitriy Y. Zotikov (xio) <>
 6	"
 7	" Should work in recent 256 color terminals.  88-color terms like urxvt are
 8	" NOT supported.
 9	"
10	" Don't forget to install 'ncurses-term' and set TERM to xterm-256color or
11	" similar value.
12	"
13	" Color numbers (0-255) see:
14	"
15	"
16	" For a specific filetype highlighting rules issue :syntax list when a file of
17	" that type is opened.
18	"
19	" TODO: link colours instead of setting values explicitly
21	" Initialization {{{
22	if &t_Co != 256 && ! has("gui_running")
23	  echoerr "Please use GUI or a 256-color terminal (which sets t_Co=256)."
24	  finish
25	endif
27	set background=dark
29	hi clear
31	if exists("syntax_on")
32	  syntax reset
33	endif
35	let colors_name = "xoria256"
36	"}}}
37	" Colours {{{1
38	"" General {{{2
39	hi Normal       ctermfg=252 guifg=#d0d0d0 ctermbg=234 guibg=#1c1c1c cterm=none gui=none
40	hi Cursor                                 ctermbg=214 guibg=#ffaf00
41	hi CursorColumn                           ctermbg=238 guibg=#444444
42	"hi CursorLine                             ctermbg=237 guibg=#3a3a3a cterm=none gui=none 
43	hi CursorLine                             ctermbg=237 ctermfg=grey guibg=#3a3a3a cterm=none gui=none 
44	hi CursorLineNr                             ctermfg=white ctermbg=magenta guibg=#3a3a3a cterm=none gui=none 
45	hi Error        ctermfg=15  guifg=#ffffff ctermbg=1   guibg=#800000
46	hi ErrorMsg     ctermfg=15  guifg=#ffffff ctermbg=1   guibg=#800000
47	hi FoldColumn   ctermfg=247 guifg=#9e9e9e ctermbg=233 guibg=#121212
48	hi Folded       ctermfg=255 guifg=#eeeeee ctermbg=60  guibg=#5f5f87
49	hi IncSearch    ctermfg=0   guifg=#000000 ctermbg=223 guibg=#ffdfaf cterm=none gui=none
50	hi LineNr       ctermfg=247 guifg=#9e9e9e ctermbg=233 guibg=#121212
51	hi MatchParen   ctermfg=188 guifg=#dfdfdf ctermbg=68  guibg=#5f87df cterm=bold gui=bold
52	" TODO
53	" hi MoreMsg
54	hi NonText      ctermfg=247 guifg=#9e9e9e ctermbg=233 guibg=#121212 cterm=bold gui=bold
55	hi Pmenu        ctermfg=0   guifg=#000000 ctermbg=250 guibg=#bcbcbc
56	hi PmenuSel     ctermfg=255 guifg=#eeeeee ctermbg=243 guibg=#767676
57	hi PmenuSbar                              ctermbg=252 guibg=#d0d0d0
58	hi PmenuThumb   ctermfg=243 guifg=#767676
59	hi Search       ctermfg=0   guifg=#000000 ctermbg=149 guibg=#afdf5f
60	hi SignColumn   ctermfg=248 guifg=#a8a8a8
61	hi SpecialKey   ctermfg=77  guifg=#5fdf5f
62	" hi SpellBad     ctermfg=160 guifg=fg      ctermbg=bg                cterm=underline               guisp=#df0000
63	hi SpellBad                               ctermbg=238                                               guisp=#df0000
64	hi SpellCap     ctermfg=189 guifg=#dfdfff ctermbg=bg  guibg=bg      cterm=underline gui=underline
65	hi SpellRare    ctermfg=168 guifg=#df5f87 ctermbg=bg  guibg=bg      cterm=underline gui=underline
66	hi SpellLocal   ctermfg=98  guifg=#875fdf ctermbg=bg  guibg=bg      cterm=underline gui=underline
67	hi StatusLine   ctermfg=15  guifg=#ffffff ctermbg=239 guibg=#4e4e4e cterm=bold gui=bold
68	hi StatusLineNC ctermfg=249 guifg=#b2b2b2 ctermbg=237 guibg=#3a3a3a cterm=none gui=none
69	hi TabLine      ctermfg=fg  guifg=fg      ctermbg=242 guibg=#666666 cterm=none gui=none
70	hi TabLineFill  ctermfg=fg  guifg=fg      ctermbg=237 guibg=#3a3a3a cterm=none gui=none
71	" FIXME
72	hi Title        ctermfg=225 guifg=#ffdfff
73	hi Todo         ctermfg=0   guifg=#000000 ctermbg=184 guibg=#dfdf00
74	hi Underlined   ctermfg=39  guifg=#00afff                           cterm=underline gui=underline
75	hi VertSplit    ctermfg=237 guifg=#3a3a3a ctermbg=237 guibg=#3a3a3a cterm=none gui=none
76	" hi VIsualNOS    ctermfg=24  guifg=#005f87 ctermbg=153 guibg=#afdfff cterm=none gui=none
77	" hi Visual       ctermfg=24  guifg=#005f87 ctermbg=153 guibg=#afdfff
78	hi Visual       ctermfg=255 guifg=#eeeeee ctermbg=96  guibg=#875f87
79	" hi Visual       ctermfg=255 guifg=#eeeeee ctermbg=24  guibg=#005f87
80	hi VisualNOS    ctermfg=255 guifg=#eeeeee ctermbg=60  guibg=#5f5f87
81	hi WildMenu     ctermfg=0   guifg=#000000 ctermbg=150 guibg=#afdf87 cterm=bold gui=bold
83	"" Syntax highlighting {{{2
84	hi Comment      ctermfg=244 guifg=#808080
85	hi Constant     ctermfg=229 guifg=#ffffaf
86	hi Identifier   ctermfg=182 guifg=#dfafdf                           cterm=none
87	hi Ignore       ctermfg=238 guifg=#444444
88	hi Number       ctermfg=180 guifg=#dfaf87
89	hi PreProc      ctermfg=150 guifg=#afdf87
90	hi Special      ctermfg=174 guifg=#df8787
91	hi Statement    ctermfg=110 guifg=#87afdf                           cterm=none gui=none
92	hi Type         ctermfg=146 guifg=#afafdf                           cterm=none gui=none
94	"" Special {{{2
95	""" .diff {{{3
96	hi diffAdded    ctermfg=150 guifg=#afdf87
97	hi diffRemoved  ctermfg=174 guifg=#df8787
98	""" vimdiff {{{3
99	hi diffAdd      ctermfg=bg  guifg=bg      ctermbg=151 guibg=#afdfaf    100	"hi diffDelete   ctermfg=bg  guifg=bg      ctermbg=186 guibg=#dfdf87 cterm=none gui=none    101	hi diffDelete   ctermfg=bg  guifg=bg      ctermbg=246 guibg=#949494 cterm=none gui=none    102	hi diffChange   ctermfg=bg  guifg=bg      ctermbg=181 guibg=#dfafaf    103	hi diffText     ctermfg=bg  guifg=bg      ctermbg=174 guibg=#df8787 cterm=none gui=none    104	""" HTML {{{3    105	" hi htmlTag      ctermfg=146  guifg=#afafdf    106	" hi htmlEndTag   ctermfg=146  guifg=#afafdf    107	hi htmlTag      ctermfg=244    108	hi htmlEndTag   ctermfg=244    109	hi htmlArg	ctermfg=182  guifg=#dfafdf    110	hi htmlValue	ctermfg=187  guifg=#dfdfaf    111	hi htmlTitle	ctermfg=254  ctermbg=95    112	" hi htmlArg	ctermfg=146    113	" hi htmlTagName	ctermfg=146    114	" hi htmlString	ctermfg=187    115	""" XML {{{3    116	hi link xmlTagName	Statement    117	" hi link xmlTag		Comment    118	" hi link xmlEndTag	Statement    119	hi link xmlTag		xmlTagName    120	hi link xmlEndTag	xmlTag    121	hi link xmlAttrib	Identifier    122	""" django {{{3    123	hi djangoVarBlock ctermfg=180  guifg=#dfaf87    124	hi djangoTagBlock ctermfg=150  guifg=#afdf87    125	hi djangoStatement ctermfg=146  guifg=#afafdf    126	hi djangoFilter ctermfg=174  guifg=#df8787    127	""" python {{{3    128	hi pythonExceptions ctermfg=174    129	""" NERDTree {{{3    130	hi Directory      ctermfg=110  guifg=#87afdf    131	hi treeCWD        ctermfg=180  guifg=#dfaf87    132	hi treeClosable   ctermfg=174  guifg=#df8787    133	hi treeOpenable   ctermfg=150  guifg=#afdf87    134	hi treePart       ctermfg=244  guifg=#808080    135	hi treeDirSlash   ctermfg=244  guifg=#808080    136	hi treeLink       ctermfg=182  guifg=#dfafdf    137	""" rst #{{{3    138	hi link rstEmphasis Number    139	    140	""" VimDebug {{{3    141	" FIXME    142	" you may want to set SignColumn highlight in your .vimrc    143	" :help sign    144	" :help SignColumn    145	    146	" hi currentLine term=reverse cterm=reverse gui=reverse    147	" hi breakPoint  term=NONE    cterm=NONE    gui=NONE    148	" hi empty       term=NONE    cterm=NONE    gui=NONE    149	    150	" sign define currentLine linehl=currentLine    151	" sign define breakPoint  linehl=breakPoint  text=>>    152	" sign define both        linehl=currentLine text=>>    153	" sign define empty       linehl=empty    154	""" vimHelp {{{3    155	hi link helpExample Number    156	hi link helpNumber String    157	hi helpURL ctermfg=110 guifg=#87afdf                           cterm=underline gui=underline    158	hi link helpHyperTextEntry helpURL

You can see on lines 42-44 above, I have replaced the hi CursorLineNr command. In Vim script double quotes are comments. So I commented out the old command and copied the same command with a new argument. When you try to go back in time and see what you changed, this might help you. In the CursorLine value I set the foreground color to grey. This shows up nicely against the dark grey of xoria256 without being distracting. To remove the underline from the line number, I need to define a background and foreground color for the CursorLineNr value. I chose a background of magenta with a foreground of white. It looks pretty good.
The important thing is that it doesn’t distract me, either with too much color or too little, and I can find my cusor on a large display without going hunting.

Note that the color choices must be from the normal 8-bit color choices you have available in your terminal.


Find your color theme file from your callout in your .vimrc. Edit that file (the color file) to define your hi CursorLine and hi CursorLineNr values. Define your cterm values for CursorLine and your ctermfg and ctermbg values for your hi CursorLineNr lines. Then close and reopen vim. That should do it! Voila! Annoying underline is now removed and replaced with a nice color combo of your chosing.