This is the 7th post of my post series on nifty Nvim/Vim techniques that will make my editing experience easier.

Click here to check other posts in this series.

Copy several lines to destination line

Use :copy command:

:[range]copy {address}

[range] is a line range that has very flexible syntax, see :h cmdline-ranges for the details. {address} is the destination address you want to copy text to.

Let’s see some concrete examples.

  • Copy line 1 to 3 to below line 11:

    :1,3copy 11
  • Copy three lines from current cursor position to the end of the file:

    :.,.+2copy $


Save state of all opened files and open them later

Sometimes, we want to restart Vim/Neovim, but do not want to lose the current state since we may have opened a lot of files. A simple way is to use :mksession command. It will create a file named Session.vim. Or you can provide a custom name for it :mksession my-sess.vim.

When you start Vim/Neovim later, you can use :source my-sess.vim to restore the state of previous state of Vim, with all the previous files opened.

There is also vim plugins such as vim-obession that helps you simplify the management of sessions.


Delete lines matching/not matching a pattern?

To delete lines matching a pattern, we can use the :global command:

:%g/some pattern/d

Some explanation on this command:

  • %: specify the whole file. We can also specify a custom range, e.g., 2,10 (line 2 to line 10). See also : h cmdline-ranges.
  • some pattern: The pattern we want to match. It can be normal text or regular expressions.
  • d: For command :delete.

To delete lines not matching a pattern, we simply reverse the :global command via :global!:

:%g!/some pattern/d

which will delete lines not matching some pattern.

:g! is also equivalent to :vglobal (or :v) command (think of it as grep -v):

:%v/some pattern/d


Close the help window quickly?

According to answer here, we can simply the use the :helpclose command to close the help window, which is by far the simplest way I have found.

Jump to the first occurence of a search term?

When we search a pattern, we may want to go to the first occurence of the search pattern. Just press ggn in normal mode:

  • gg: go the begining of the file
  • n: search forward for the pattern.


Keep only the lines matching a pattern from command output?

A vim command may output a lot of text, making it hard for us to find what we want. For example, :highlight command will print a lot of lines of the highlight group info.

We can use :filter to get only what we are interested. The syntax is:

:filter /pattern/ [cmd]

where pattern is the string pattern we want to search and [cmd] is a vim command. If we want to ignore cases, we can add \c before pattern:

:filter /\cpattern/ [cmd]

For example, to search highlight groups that contains the word search (ignoring the case), we use the following comamnd:

:filter /\csearch/ highlight

we only get the following three lines instead of the hundreds of lines:

IncSearch      xxx cterm=reverse gui=reverse guifg=#fe8019 guibg=#1d2021
Search         xxx cterm=reverse ctermfg=0 ctermbg=11 gui=reverse guifg=#fabd2f guibg=#1d2021
Searchlight    xxx links to ErrorMsg