Nvim :help pages, generated from source using the tree-sitter-vimdoc parser.

Command-line mode is used to enter Ex commands (":"), search patterns ("/" and "?"), and filter commands ("!").
Basic command line editing is explained in chapter 20 of the user manual usr_20.txt.

1. Command-line editing cmdline-editing

Normally characters are inserted in front of the cursor position. You can move around in the command-line with the left and right cursor keys. With the <Insert> key, you can toggle between inserting and overstriking characters.
Note that if your keyboard does not have working cursor keys or any of the other special keys, you can use ":cnoremap" to define another key for them. For example, to define tcsh style editing keys: tcsh-style
:cnoremap <C-A> <Home>
:cnoremap <C-F> <Right>
:cnoremap <C-B> <Left>
:cnoremap <Esc>b <S-Left>
:cnoremap <Esc>f <S-Right>
(<> notation <>; type all this literally)
cmdline-too-long When the command line is getting longer than what fits on the screen, only the part that fits will be shown. The cursor can only move in this visible part, thus you cannot edit beyond that.
cmdline-history history The command-lines that you enter are remembered in a history table. You can recall them with the up and down cursor keys. There are actually five history tables:
one for ':' commands
one for search strings
one for expressions
one for input lines, typed for the input() function.
one for debug mode commands These are completely separate. Each history can only be accessed when entering the same type of line. Use the 'history' option to set the number of lines that are remembered. Notes:
When you enter a command-line that is exactly the same as an older one, the old one is removed (to avoid repeated commands moving older commands out of the history).
Only commands that are typed are remembered. Ones that completely come from mappings are not put in the history.
All searches are put in the search history, including the ones that come from commands like "*" and "#". But for a mapping, only the last search is remembered (to avoid that long mappings trash the history).
There is an automatic completion of names on the command-line; see cmdline-completion.
c_CTRL-V CTRL-V Insert next non-digit literally. Up to three digits form the decimal value of a single byte. The non-digit and the three digits are not considered for mapping. This works the same way as in Insert mode (see above, i_CTRL-V). For special keys, the CTRL modifier may be included into the key to produce a control character. If there is no control character for the key then its key-notation is inserted. Note: Under Windows CTRL-V is often mapped to paste text. Use CTRL-Q instead then. c_CTRL-Q CTRL-Q Same as CTRL-V. But with some terminals it is used for control flow, it doesn't work then.


CTRL-SHIFT-Q Works just like CTRL-V, but do not try to include the CTRL modifier into the key.
c_<Left> c_Left <Left> cursor left. See 'wildmenu' for behavior during wildmenu completion mode. c_<Right> c_Right <Right> cursor right. See 'wildmenu' for behavior during wildmenu completion mode. c_<S-Left> <S-Left> or <C-Left> c_<C-Left> cursor one WORD left c_<S-Right> <S-Right> or <C-Right> c_<C-Right> cursor one WORD right CTRL-B or <Home> c_CTRL-B c_<Home> c_Home cursor to beginning of command-line CTRL-E or <End> c_CTRL-E c_<End> c_End cursor to end of command-line. See 'wildmenu' for behavior during wildmenu completion mode.
c_<LeftMouse> <LeftMouse> Move the cursor to the position of the mouse click.
c_<MiddleMouse> <MiddleMouse> Paste the contents of the clipboard (for X11 the primary selection). This is similar to using CTRL-R *, but no CR characters are inserted between lines.


<BS> Delete the character in front of the cursor. c_<Del> c_Del <Del> Delete the character under the cursor (at end of line: character before the cursor). c_CTRL-W CTRL-W Delete the word before the cursor. This depends on the 'iskeyword' option. c_CTRL-U CTRL-U Remove all characters between the cursor position and the beginning of the line. Previous versions of vim deleted all characters on the line. If that is the preferred behavior, add the following to your vimrc:
:cnoremap <C-U> <C-E><C-U>
c_<Insert> c_Insert <Insert> Toggle between insert and overstrike.
{char1} <BS> {char2} or c_digraph CTRL-K {char1} {char2} c_CTRL-K enter digraph (see digraphs). When {char1} is a special key, the code for that key is inserted in <> form.
CTRL-R {register} c_CTRL-R c_<C-R> Insert the contents of a numbered or named register. Between typing CTRL-R and the second character '"' will be displayed to indicate that you are expected to enter the name of a register. The text is inserted as if you typed it, but mappings and abbreviations are not used. Command-line completion through 'wildchar' is not triggered though. And characters that end the command line are inserted literally (<Esc>, <CR>, <NL>, <C-C>). A <BS> or CTRL-W could still end the command line though, and remaining characters will then be interpreted in another mode, which might not be what you intended. Special registers: '"' the unnamed register, containing the text of the last delete or yank '%' the current file name '#' the alternate file name "*" the clipboard contents (X11: primary selection) '+' the clipboard contents '/' the last search pattern ':' the last command-line '-' the last small (less than a line) delete '.' the last inserted text c_CTRL-R_= '=' the expression register: you are prompted to enter an expression (see expression) (doesn't work at the expression prompt; some things such as changing the buffer or current window are not allowed to avoid side effects) When the result is a List the items are used as lines. They can have line breaks inside too. When the result is a Float it's automatically converted to a String. Note that when you only want to move the cursor and not insert anything, you must make sure the expression evaluates to an empty string. E.g.:
See registers about registers. Implementation detail: When using the expression register and invoking setcmdpos(), this sets the position before inserting the resulting string. Use CTRL-R CTRL-R to set the position afterwards.
CTRL-R CTRL-F c_CTRL-R_CTRL-F c_<C-R>_<C-F> CTRL-R CTRL-P c_CTRL-R_CTRL-P c_<C-R>_<C-P> CTRL-R CTRL-W c_CTRL-R_CTRL-W c_<C-R>_<C-W> CTRL-R CTRL-A c_CTRL-R_CTRL-A c_<C-R>_<C-A> CTRL-R CTRL-L c_CTRL-R_CTRL-L c_<C-R>_<C-L> Insert the object under the cursor: CTRL-F the Filename under the cursor CTRL-P the Filename under the cursor, expanded with 'path' as in gf CTRL-W the Word under the cursor CTRL-A the WORD under the cursor; see WORD CTRL-L the line under the cursor
When 'incsearch' is set the cursor position at the end of the currently displayed match is used. With CTRL-W the part of the word that was already typed is not inserted again.
c_CTRL-R_CTRL-R c_<C-R>_<C-R> c_CTRL-R_CTRL-O c_<C-R>_<C-O> CTRL-R CTRL-R {register CTRL-F CTRL-P CTRL-W CTRL-A CTRL-L} CTRL-R CTRL-O {register CTRL-F CTRL-P CTRL-W CTRL-A CTRL-L} Insert register or object under the cursor. Works like c_CTRL-R but inserts the text literally. For example, if register a contains "xy^Hz" (where ^H is a backspace), "CTRL-R a" will insert "xz" while "CTRL-R CTRL-R a" will insert "xy^Hz".
CTRL-\ e {expr} c_CTRL-\_e Evaluate {expr} and replace the whole command line with the result. You will be prompted for the expression, type <Enter> to finish it. It's most useful in mappings though. See expression. See c_CTRL-R_= for inserting the result of an expression. Useful functions are getcmdtype(), getcmdline() and getcmdpos(). The cursor position is unchanged, except when the cursor was at the end of the line, then it stays at the end. setcmdpos() can be used to set the cursor position. The sandbox is used for evaluating the expression to avoid nasty side effects. Example:
:cmap <F7> <C-\>eAppendSome()<CR>
:func AppendSome()
   :let cmd = getcmdline() .. " Some()"
   :" place the cursor on the )
   :call setcmdpos(strlen(cmd))
   :return cmd
This doesn't work recursively, thus not when already editing an expression. But it is possible to use in a mapping.
c_CTRL-Y CTRL-Y When there is a modeless selection, copy the selection into the clipboard. If there is no selection CTRL-Y is inserted as a character. See 'wildmenu' for behavior during wildmenu completion mode.
c_CTRL-Z CTRL-Z Trigger 'wildmode'. Same as 'wildcharm', but always available.
CTRL-M or CTRL-J c_CTRL-M c_CTRL-J c_<NL> c_<CR> c_CR <CR> or <NL> start entered command
CTRL-[ c_CTRL-[ c_<Esc> c_Esc <Esc> When typed and 'x' not present in 'cpoptions', quit Command-line mode without executing. In macros or when 'x' present in 'cpoptions', start entered command. Note: If your <Esc> key is hard to hit on your keyboard, train yourself to use CTRL-[. c_META c_ALT ALT (META) may act like <Esc> if the chord is not mapped. For example <A-x> acts like <Esc>x if <A-x> does not have a command-line mode mapping. c_CTRL-C CTRL-C quit command-line without executing
c_<Up> c_Up <Up> recall older command-line from history, whose beginning matches the current command-line (see below). See 'wildmenu' for behavior during wildmenu completion mode. c_<Down> c_Down <Down> recall more recent command-line from history, whose beginning matches the current command-line (see below). See 'wildmenu' for behavior during wildmenu completion mode.
c_<S-Up> c_<PageUp> <S-Up> or <PageUp> recall older command-line from history c_<S-Down> c_<PageDown> <S-Down> or <PageDown> recall more recent command-line from history
CTRL-D command-line completion (see cmdline-completion) 'wildchar' option command-line completion (see cmdline-completion) CTRL-N command-line completion (see cmdline-completion) CTRL-P command-line completion (see cmdline-completion) CTRL-A command-line completion (see cmdline-completion) CTRL-L command-line completion (see cmdline-completion)
c_CTRL-^ CTRL-^ Toggle the use of language :lmap mappings and/or Input Method. When typing a pattern for a search command and 'imsearch' is not -1, VAL is the value of 'imsearch', otherwise VAL is the value of 'iminsert'. When language mappings are defined:
If VAL is 1 (langmap mappings used) it becomes 0 (no langmap mappings used).
If VAL was not 1 it becomes 1, thus langmap mappings are enabled. When no language mappings are defined:
If VAL is 2 (Input Method is used) it becomes 0 (no input method used)
If VAL has another value it becomes 2, thus the Input Method is enabled. These language mappings are normally used to type characters that are different from what the keyboard produces. The 'keymap' option can be used to install a whole number of them. When entering a command line, langmap mappings are switched off, since you are expected to type a command. After switching it on with CTRL-^, the new state is not used again for the next command or Search pattern.
c_CTRL-] CTRL-] Trigger abbreviation, without inserting a character.
For Emacs-style editing on the command-line see emacs-keys.
The <Up> and <Down> keys take the current command-line as a search string. The beginning of the next/previous command-lines are compared with this string. The first line that matches is the new command-line. When typing these two keys repeatedly, the same string is used again. For example, this can be used to find the previous substitute command: Type ":s" and then <Up>. The same could be done by typing <S-Up> a number of times until the desired command-line is shown. (Note: the shifted arrow keys do not work on all terminals)
:his :history :his[tory] Print the history of last entered commands.
:his[tory] [{name}] [{first}][, [{last}]] List the contents of history {name} which can be: c[md] or : command-line history s[earch] or / or ? search string history e[xpr] or = expression register history i[nput] or @ input line history d[ebug] or > debug command history a[ll] all of the above
If the numbers {first} and/or {last} are given, the respective range of entries from a history is listed. These numbers can be specified in the following form: :history-indexing A positive number represents the absolute index of an entry as it is given in the first column of a :history listing. This number remains fixed even if other entries are deleted. (see E1510)
A negative number means the relative position of an entry, counted from the newest entry (which has index -1) backwards.
Examples: List entries 6 to 12 from the search history:
:history / 6,12
List the penultimate entry from all histories:
:history all -2
List the most recent two entries from all histories:
:history all -2,
:keepp[atterns] {command} :keepp :keeppatterns Execute {command}, without adding anything to the search history

2. Command-line completion cmdline-completion

When editing the command-line, a few commands can be used to complete the word before the cursor. This is available for:
Command names: At the start of the command-line.
++opt values.
Tags: Only after the ":tag" command.
File names: Only after a command that accepts a file name or a setting for an option that can be set to a file name. This is called file name completion.
Shell command names: After ":!cmd", ":r !cmd" and ":w !cmd". $PATH is used.
Options: Only after the ":set" command.
Mappings: Only after a ":map" or similar command.
Variable and function names: Only after a ":if", ":call" or similar command.
The number of help item matches is limited (currently to 300) to avoid a long delay when there are very many matches.
These are the commands that can be used:
c_CTRL-D CTRL-D List names that match the pattern in front of the cursor. When showing file names, directories are highlighted (see highlight-groups). Names where 'suffixes' matches are moved to the end. The 'wildoptions' option can be set to "tagfile" to list the file of matching tags. c_CTRL-I c_wildchar c_<Tab> 'wildchar' option A match is done on the pattern in front of the cursor. The match (if there are several, the first match) is inserted in place of the pattern. (Note: does not work inside a macro, because <Tab> or <Esc> are mostly used as 'wildchar', and these have a special meaning in some macros.) When typed again and there were multiple matches, the next match is inserted. After the last match, the first is used again (wrap around). The behavior can be changed with the 'wildmode' option. c_<S-Tab> <S-Tab> Like 'wildchar' or <Tab>, but begin with the last match and then go to the previous match. c_CTRL-N CTRL-N After using 'wildchar' which got multiple matches, go to next match. Otherwise recall more recent command-line from history. c_CTRL-P CTRL-P After using 'wildchar' which got multiple matches, go to previous match. Otherwise recall older command-line from history. c_CTRL-A CTRL-A All names that match the pattern in front of the cursor are inserted. c_CTRL-L CTRL-L A match is done on the pattern in front of the cursor. If there is one match, it is inserted in place of the pattern. If there are multiple matches the longest common part is inserted in place of the pattern. If the result is shorter than the pattern, no completion is done. /_CTRL-L When 'incsearch' is set, entering a search pattern for "/" or "?" and the current match is displayed then CTRL-L will add one character from the end of the current match. If 'ignorecase' and 'smartcase' are set and the command line has no uppercase characters, the added character is converted to lowercase. c_CTRL-G /_CTRL-G CTRL-G When 'incsearch' is set, entering a search pattern for "/" or "?" and the current match is displayed then CTRL-G will move to the next match (does not take search-offset into account) Use CTRL-T to move to the previous match. Hint: on a regular keyboard T is above G. c_CTRL-T /_CTRL-T CTRL-T When 'incsearch' is set, entering a search pattern for "/" or "?" and the current match is displayed then CTRL-T will move to the previous match (does not take search-offset into account). Use CTRL-G to move to the next match. Hint: on a regular keyboard T is above G.
The 'wildchar' option defaults to <Tab> (CTRL-E when in Vi compatible mode; in a previous version <Esc> was used). In the pattern standard wildcards are accepted when matching file names.
When repeating 'wildchar' or CTRL-N you cycle through the matches, eventually ending up back to what was typed. If the first match is not what you wanted, you can use <S-Tab> or CTRL-P to go straight back to what you typed.
The 'wildmenu' option can be set to show the matches just above the command line.
The 'wildoptions' option provides additional configuration to use a popup menu for 'wildmenu', and to use fuzzy matching.
The 'wildignorecase' option can be set to ignore case in filenames. For completing other texts (e.g. command names), the 'ignorecase' option is used instead (fuzzy matching always ignores case, however).
If you like tcsh's autolist completion, you can use this mapping: :cnoremap X <C-L><C-D> (Where X is the command key to use, <C-L> is CTRL-L and <C-D> is CTRL-D) This will find the longest match and then list all matching files.
If you like tcsh's autolist completion, you can use the 'wildmode' option to emulate it. For example, this mimics autolist=ambiguous: :set wildmode=longest,list This will find the longest match with the first 'wildchar', then list all matching files with the next.
complete-script-local-functions When completing user function names, prepend "s:" to find script-local functions.
suffixes For file name completion you can use the 'suffixes' option to set a priority between files with almost the same name. If there are multiple matches, those files with an extension that is in the 'suffixes' option are ignored. The default is ".bak,~,.o,.h,.info,.swp,.obj", which means that files ending in ".bak", "~", ".o", ".h", ".info", ".swp" and ".obj" are sometimes ignored.
An empty entry, two consecutive commas, match a file name that does not contain a ".", thus has no suffix. This is useful to ignore "prog" and prefer "prog.c".
pattern: files: match:
test* test.c test.h test.o test.c test* test.h test.o test.h and test.o test* test.i test.h test.c test.i and test.c
It is impossible to ignore suffixes with two dots.
If there is more than one matching file (after ignoring the ones matching the 'suffixes' option) the first file name is inserted. You can see that there is only one match when you type 'wildchar' twice and the completed match stays the same. You can get to the other matches by entering 'wildchar', CTRL-N or CTRL-P. All files are included, also the ones with extensions matching the 'suffixes' option.
To completely ignore files with some extension use 'wildignore'.
To match only files that end at the end of the typed text append a "$". For example, to match only files that end in ".c":
:e *.c$
This will not match a file ending in ".cpp". Without the "$" it does match.
If you would like using <S-Tab> for CTRL-P in an xterm, put this command in your .cshrc:
xmodmap -e "keysym Tab = Tab Find"
And this in your vimrc:
:cmap <Esc>[1~ <C-P>
complete-set-option When setting an option using :set=, the old value of an option can be obtained by hitting 'wildchar' just after the '='. For example, typing 'wildchar' after ":set dir=" will insert the current value of 'dir'. This overrules file name completion for the options that take a file name.
When using :set=, :set+=, or :set^=, string options that have pre-defined names or syntax (e.g. 'diffopt', 'listchars') or are a list of single-character flags (e.g. 'shortmess') will also present a list of possible values for completion when using 'wildchar'.
When using :set-=, comma-separated options like 'diffopt' or 'backupdir' will show each item separately. Flag list options like 'shortmess' will show both the entire old value and the individual flags. Otherwise completion will just fill in with the entire old value.

3. Ex command-lines cmdline-lines

The Ex commands have a few specialties:
:quote :comment '"' at the start of a line causes the whole line to be ignored. '"' after a command causes the rest of the line to be ignored. This can be used to add comments. Example:
:set ai                "set 'autoindent' option
It is not possible to add a comment to a shell command ":!cmd" or to the ":map" command and a few others (mainly commands that expect expressions) that see the '"' as part of their argument:
:argdo :autocmd :bufdo :cexpr (and the like) :cdo (and the like) :command :debug :display :echo (and the like) :elseif :execute :folddoopen :folddoclosed :for :grep (and the like) :help (and the like) :if :let :make :map (and the like including :abbrev commands) :menu (and the like) :mkspell :normal :ownsyntax :popup :registers :return :sort :syntax :tabdo :tearoff :vimgrep (and the like) :while :windo
:bar :\bar '|' can be used to separate commands, so you can give multiple commands in one line. If you want to use '|' in an argument, precede it with '\'.
These commands see the '|' as their argument, and can therefore not be followed by another Vim command: :argdo :autocmd :bufdo :cdo :cfdo :command :debug :eval :folddoopen :folddoclosed :function :global :help :helpgrep :ldo :lfdo :lhelpgrep :make :normal :perlfile :pyfile :python :registers :read ! :sign :tabdo :terminal :vglobal :windo :write ! :[range]! a user defined command without the "-bar" argument :command
Note that this is confusing (inherited from Vi): With ":g" the '|' is included in the command, with ":s" it is not.
To be able to use another command anyway, use the ":execute" command. Example (append the output of "ls" and jump to the first line):
:execute 'r !ls' | '[
There is one exception: When the 'b' flag is present in 'cpoptions', with the ":map" and ":abbr" commands and friends CTRL-V needs to be used instead of '\'. You can also use "<Bar>" instead. See also map_bar.
:!ls | wc                view the output of two commands
:r !ls | wc                insert the same output in the text
:%g/foo/p|>                moves all matching lines one shiftwidth
:%s/foo/bar/|>                moves one line one shiftwidth
:map q 10^V|                map "q" to "10|"
:map q 10\| map \ l        map "q" to "10\" and map "\" to "l"
                                (when 'b' is present in 'cpoptions')
You can also use <NL> to separate commands in the same way as with '|'. To insert a <NL> use CTRL-V CTRL-J. "^@" will be shown. Using '|' is the preferred method. But for external commands a <NL> must be used, because a '|' is included in the external command. To avoid the special meaning of <NL> it must be preceded with a backslash. Example:
:r !date<NL>-join
This reads the current date into the file and joins it with the previous line.
Note that when the command before the '|' generates an error, the following commands will not be executed.
Because of Vi compatibility the following strange commands are supported:
:|                        print current line (like ":p")
:3|                        print line 3 (like ":3p")
:3                        goto line 3
A colon is allowed between the range and the command name. It is ignored (this is Vi compatible). For example:
When the character '%' or '#' is used where a file name is expected, they are expanded to the current and alternate file name (see the chapter "editing files" :_% :_#).
Trailing spaces in filenames will be ignored, unless escaped with a backslash or CTRL-V. Note that the ":next" command uses spaces to separate file names. Escape the spaces to include them in a file name. Example:
:next foo\ bar goes\ to school\
starts editing the three files "foo bar", "goes to" and "school ".
When you want to use the special characters '"' or '|' in a command, or want to use '%' or '#' in a file name, precede them with a backslash. The backslash is not required in a range and in the ":substitute" command. See also `=.
:_! The '!' (bang) character after an Ex command makes the command behave in a different way. The '!' should be placed immediately after the command, without any blanks in between. If you insert blanks the '!' will be seen as an argument for the command, which has a different meaning. For example: :w! name write the current buffer to file "name", overwriting any existing file :w !name send the current buffer as standard input to command "name"

4. Ex command-line ranges cmdline-ranges [range] E16

Some Ex commands accept a line range in front of them. This is noted as [range]. It consists of one or more line specifiers, separated with ',' or ';'.
The basics are explained in section 10.3 of the user manual.
:, :; When separated with ';' the cursor position will be set to that line before interpreting the next line specifier. This doesn't happen for ','. Examples:
4,/this line/
from line 4 till match with "this line" after the cursor line.
5;/that line/
from line 5 till match with "that line" after line 5.
The default line specifier for most commands is the cursor position, but the commands ":write" and ":global" have the whole file (1,$) as default.
If more line specifiers are given than required for the command, the first one(s) will be ignored.
Line numbers may be specified with: :range {address} {number} an absolute line number E1247 . the current line :. $ the last line in the file :$ % equal to 1,$ (the entire file) :% 't position of mark t (lowercase) :' 'T position of mark T (uppercase); when the mark is in another file it cannot be used in a range /{pattern}[/] the next line where {pattern} matches :/ also see :range-pattern below ?{pattern}[?] the previous line where {pattern} matches :? also see :range-pattern below \/ the next line where the previously used search pattern matches \? the previous line where the previously used search pattern matches \& the next line where the previously used substitute pattern matches
:range-offset Each may be followed (several times) by '+' or '-' and an optional number. This number is added or subtracted from the preceding line number. If the number is omitted, 1 is used. If there is nothing before the '+' or '-' then the current line is used. :range-closed-fold When a line number after the comma is in a closed fold it is adjusted to the last line of the fold, thus the whole fold is included.
When a number is added this is done after the adjustment to the last line of the fold. This means these lines are additionally included in the range. For example:
On this text:
1 one
2 two
3 three
4 four FOLDED
5 five FOLDED
6 six
7 seven
8 eight
Where lines four and five are a closed fold, ends up printing lines 3 to 7. The 7 comes from the "4" in the range, which is adjusted to the end of the closed fold, which is 5, and then the offset 2 is added.
An example for subtracting (which isn't very useful):
On this text:
1 one
2 two
3 three FOLDED
4 four FOLDED
5 five FOLDED
6 six FOLDED
7 seven
8 eight
Where lines three to six are a closed fold, ends up printing lines 2 to 6. The 6 comes from the "4" in the range, which is adjusted to the end of the closed fold, which is 6, and then 1 is subtracted, then this is still in the closed fold and the last line of that fold is used, which is 6.
:range-pattern The "/" and "?" after {pattern} are required to separate the pattern from anything that follows.
The "/" and "?" may be preceded with another address. The search starts from there. The difference from using ';' is that the cursor isn't moved. Examples:
/pat1//pat2/        Find line containing "pat2" after line containing
                "pat1", without moving the cursor.
7;/pat2/        Find line containing "pat2", after line 7, leaving
                the cursor in line 7.
The {number} must be between 0 and the number of lines in the file. When using a 0 (zero) this is interpreted as a 1 by most commands. Commands that use it as a count do use it as a zero (:tag, :pop, etc). Some commands interpret the zero as "before the first line" (:read, search pattern, etc).
.+3                three lines below the cursor
/that/+1        the line below the next line containing "that"
.,$                from current line until end of file
0;/that                the first line containing "that", also matches in the
                first line.
1;/that                the first line after line 1 containing "that"
Some commands allow for a count after the command. This count is used as the number of lines to be used, starting with the line given in the last line specifier (the default is the cursor line). The commands that accept a count are the ones that use a range but do not have a file name argument (because a file name can also be a number). The count cannot be negative.
:s/x/X/g 5        substitute 'x' by 'X' in the current line and four
                following lines
:23d 4                delete lines 23, 24, 25 and 26
Folds and Range
When folds are active the line numbers are rounded off to include the whole closed fold. See fold-behavior.
Reverse Range E493
A range should have the lower line number first. If this is not the case, Vim will ask you if it should swap the line numbers.
Backwards range given, OK to swap
This is not done within the global command ":g".
You can use ":silent" before a command to avoid the question, the range will always be swapped then.
Count and Range N:
When giving a count before entering ":", this is translated into:
:.,.+(count - 1)
In words: The "count" lines at and after the cursor. Example: To delete three lines:
3:d<CR>                is translated into: .,.+2d<CR>
Visual Mode and Range v_: {Visual}: Starts a command-line with the Visual selected lines as a range. The code :'<,'> is used for this range, which makes it possible to select a similar line from the command-line history for repeating a command on different Visually selected lines.
:* :star :star-visual-range When Visual mode was already ended, a short way to use the Visual area for a range is :*.

5. Ex command-line flags ex-flags

These flags are supported by a selection of Ex commands. They print the line that the cursor ends up after executing the command:
l output like for :list # add line number p output like for :print
The flags can be combined, thus "l#" uses both a line number and :list style output.

6. Ex special characters cmdline-special

Note: These are special characters in the executed command line. If you want to insert special things while typing you can use the CTRL-R command. For example, "%" stands for the current file name, while CTRL-R % inserts the current file name right away. See c_CTRL-R.
Note: If you want to avoid the effects of special characters in a Vim script you may want to use fnameescape(). Also see `=.
In Ex commands, at places where a file name can be used, the following characters have a special meaning. These can also be used in the expression function expand(). % Is replaced with the current file name. :_% c_% # Is replaced with the alternate file name. :_# c_# This is remembered for every window. #n (where n is a number) is replaced with :_#0 :_#n the file name of buffer n. "#0" is the same as "#". c_#n ## Is replaced with all names in the argument list :_## c_## concatenated, separated by spaces. Each space in a name is preceded with a backslash. #<n (where n is a number > 0) is replaced with old :_#< c_#< file name n. See :oldfiles or v:oldfiles to get the number. E809
Note that these, except "#<n", give the file name as it was typed. If an absolute path is needed (when using the file name from a different directory), you need to add ":p". See filename-modifiers.
The "#<n" item returns an absolute path, but it will start with "~/" for files below your home directory.
Note that backslashes are inserted before spaces, so that the command will correctly interpret the file name. But this doesn't happen for shell commands. For those you probably have to use quotes (this fails for files that contain a quote and wildcards):
:!ls "%"
:r !spell "%"
To avoid the special meaning of '%' and '#' insert a backslash before it. Detail: The special meaning is always escaped when there is a backslash before it, no matter how many backslashes.
you type: result
# alternate.file \# # \\# \# Also see `=.
E499 E500 Note: these are typed literally, they are not special keys! :<cword> <cword> <cword> is replaced with the word under the cursor (like star) :<cWORD> <cWORD> <cWORD> is replaced with the WORD under the cursor (see WORD) :<cexpr> <cexpr> <cexpr> is replaced with the word under the cursor, including more to form a C expression. E.g., when the cursor is on "arg" of "ptr->arg" then the result is "ptr->arg"; when the cursor is on "]" of "list[idx]" then the result is "list[idx]". :<cfile> <cfile> <cfile> is replaced with the path name under the cursor (like what gf uses) :<afile> <afile> <afile> When executing autocommands, is replaced with the file name of the buffer being manipulated, or the file for a read or write. E495 :<abuf> <abuf> <abuf> When executing autocommands, is replaced with the currently effective buffer number. It is not set for all events, also see bufnr(). For ":r file" and ":so file" it is the current buffer, the file being read/sourced is not in a buffer. E496 :<amatch> <amatch> <amatch> When executing autocommands, is replaced with the match for which this autocommand was executed. E497 It differs from <afile> when the file name isn't used to match with (for FileType, Syntax and SpellFileMissing events). When the match is with a file name, it is expanded to the full path. :<sfile> <sfile> <sfile> When executing a :source command, is replaced with the file name of the sourced file. E498 When executing a function, is replaced with the call stack, as with <stack> (this is for backwards compatibility, using <stack> or <script> is preferred). Note that filename-modifiers are useless when <sfile> is not used inside a script. :<stack> <stack> <stack> is replaced with the call stack, using "function {function-name}[{lnum}]" for a function line and "script {file-name}[{lnum}]" for a script line, and ".." in between items. E.g.: "function {function-name1}[{lnum}]..{function-name2}[{lnum}]" If there is no call stack you get error E489 . :<script> <script> <script> When executing a :source command, is replaced with the file name of the sourced file. When executing a function, is replaced with the file name of the script where it is defined. If the file name cannot be determined you get error E1274 . :<slnum> <slnum> <slnum> When executing a :source command, is replaced with the line number. E842 When executing a function it's the line number relative to the start of the function. :<sflnum> <sflnum> <sflnum> When executing a script, is replaced with the line number. It differs from <slnum> in that <sflnum> is replaced with the script line number in any situation. E961
filename-modifiers :_%: ::8 ::p ::. ::~ ::h ::t ::r ::e ::s ::gs ::S %:8 %:p %:. %:~ %:h %:t %:r %:e %:s %:gs %:S The file name modifiers can be used after "%", "#", "#n", "<cfile>", "<sfile>", "<afile>" or "<abuf>". They are also used with the fnamemodify() function. These modifiers can be given, in this order: :p Make file name a full path. Must be the first modifier. Also changes "~/" (and "~user/" for Unix) to the path for the home directory. If the name is a directory a path separator is added at the end. For a file name that does not exist and does not have an absolute path the result is unpredictable. On MS-Windows an 8.3 filename is expanded to the long name. :8 Converts the path to 8.3 short format (currently only on MS-Windows). Will act on as much of a path that is an existing path. :~ Reduce file name to be relative to the home directory, if possible. File name is unmodified if it is not below the home directory. :. Reduce file name to be relative to current directory, if possible. File name is unmodified if it is not below the current directory. For maximum shortness, use ":~:.". :h Head of the file name (the last component and any separators removed). Cannot be used with :e, :r or :t. Can be repeated to remove several components at the end. When the file name ends in a path separator, only the path separator is removed. Thus ":p:h" on a directory name results on the directory name itself (without trailing slash). When the file name is an absolute path (starts with "/" for Unix; "x:\" for Win32), that part is not removed. When there is no head (path is relative to current directory) the result is empty. :t Tail of the file name (last component of the name). Must precede any :r or :e. :r Root of the file name (the last extension removed). When there is only an extension (file name that starts with '.', e.g., ".nvimrc"), it is not removed. Can be repeated to remove several extensions (last one first). :e Extension of the file name. Only makes sense when used alone. When there is no extension the result is empty. When there is only an extension (file name that starts with '.'), the result is empty. Can be repeated to include more extensions. If there are not enough extensions (but at least one) as much as possible are included. :s?pat?sub? Substitute the first occurrence of "pat" with "sub". This works like the :s command. "pat" is a regular expression. Any character can be used for '?', but it must not occur in "pat" or "sub". After this, the previous modifiers can be used again. For example ":p", to make a full path after the substitution. :gs?pat?sub? Substitute all occurrences of "pat" with "sub". Otherwise this works like ":s". :S Escape special characters for use with a shell command (see shellescape()). Must be the last one. Examples:
:!dir <cfile>:S
:call system('chmod +w -- ' . expand('%:S'))
Examples, when the file name is "src/version.c", current dir "/home/mool/vim":
:p                        /home/mool/vim/src/version.c
:p:.                                       src/version.c
:p:~                                 ~/vim/src/version.c
:h                                       src
:p:h                        /home/mool/vim/src
:p:h:h                /home/mool/vim
:t                                           version.c
:p:t                                           version.c
:r                                       src/version
:p:r                        /home/mool/vim/src/version
:t:r                                           version
:e                                                   c
:s?version?main?                       src/main.c
:s?version?main?:p        /home/mool/vim/src/main.c
:p:gs?/?\\?                \home\mool\vim\src\version.c
Examples, when the file name is "src/version.c.gz":
:p                        /home/mool/vim/src/version.c.gz
:e                                                     gz
:e:e                                                   c.gz
:e:e:e                                           c.gz
:e:e:r                                           c
:r                                       src/version.c
:r:e                                                   c
:r:r                                       src/version
:r:r:r                               src/version
extension-removal :_%< If a "<" is appended to "%", "#", "#n" or "CTRL-V p" the extension of the file name is removed (everything after and including the last '.' in the file name). This is included for backwards compatibility with version 3.0, the ":r" form is preferred. Examples:
%                current file name
%<                current file name without extension
#                alternate file name for current window
#<                idem, without extension
#31                alternate file number 31
#31<                idem, without extension
<cword>                word under the cursor
<cWORD>                WORD under the cursor (see |WORD|)
<cfile>                path name under the cursor
<cfile><        idem, without extension
Note: Where a file name is expected wildcards expansion is done. On Unix the shell is used for this, unless it can be done internally (for speed). Backticks work also, like in
:n `echo *.c`
But expansion is only done if there are any wildcards before expanding the '%', '#', etc.. This avoids expanding wildcards inside a file name. If you want to expand the result of <cfile>, add a wildcard character to it. Examples: (alternate file name is "?readme?") command expands to
:e #                :e ?readme?
:e `ls #`        :e {files matching "?readme?"}
:e #.*                :e {files matching "?readme?.*"}
:cd <cfile>        :cd {file name under cursor}
:cd <cfile>*        :cd {file name under cursor plus "*" and then expanded}
Also see `=.
When the expanded argument contains a "!" and it is used for a shell command (":!cmd", ":r !cmd" or ":w !cmd"), the "!" is escaped with a backslash to avoid it being expanded into a previously used command. When the 'shell' option contains "sh", this is done twice, to avoid the shell trying to expand the "!".
filename-backslash For filesystems that use a backslash as directory separator (Windows filesystems), it's a bit difficult to recognize a backslash that is used to escape the special meaning of the next character. The general rule is: If the backslash is followed by a normal file name character, it does not have a special meaning. Therefore "\file\foo" is a valid file name, you don't have to type the backslash twice.
An exception is the '$' sign. It is a valid character in a file name. But to avoid a file name like "$home" to be interpreted as an environment variable, it needs to be preceded by a backslash. Therefore you need to use "/\$home" for the file "$home" in the root directory. A few examples:
$home expanded to value of environment var $home \$home file "$home" in current directory /\$home file "$home" in root directory \\$home file "\\", followed by expanded $home
Also see `=.

7. Command-line window cmdline-window cmdwin

command-line-window In the command-line window the command line can be edited just like editing text in any window. It is a special kind of window, because you cannot leave it in a normal way.
There are two ways to open the command-line window: 1. From Command-line mode, use the key specified with the 'cedit' option. 2. From Normal mode, use the "q:", "q/" or "q?" command. This starts editing an Ex command-line ("q:") or search string ("q/" or "q?"). Note that this is not possible while recording is in progress (the "q" stops recording then).
When the window opens it is filled with the command-line history. The last line contains the command as typed so far. The left column will show a character that indicates the type of command-line being edited, see cmdwin-char.
Vim will be in Normal mode when the editor is opened.
The height of the window is specified with 'cmdwinheight' (or smaller if there is no room). The window is always full width and is positioned just above the command-line.


You can now use commands to move around and edit the text in the window. Both in Normal mode and Insert mode.
It is possible to use ":", "/" and other commands that use the command-line, but it's not possible to open another command-line window then. There is no nesting. E11 E1188 The command-line window is not a normal window. It is not possible to move to another window or edit another buffer. All commands that would do this are disabled in the command-line window. Of course it _is_ possible to execute any command that you entered in the command-line window. Other text edits are discarded when closing the window.


There are several ways to leave the command-line window:
<CR> Execute the command-line under the cursor. Works both in Insert and in Normal mode. CTRL-C Continue in Command-line mode. The command-line under the cursor is used as the command-line. Works both in Insert and in Normal mode. There is no redraw, thus the window will remain visible. :quit Discard the command line and go back to Normal mode. ":close", CTRL-W c, ":exit", ":xit" and CTRL-\ CTRL-N also work. :qall Quit Vim, unless there are changes in some buffer. :qall! Quit Vim, discarding changes to any buffer.
Once the command-line window is closed the old window sizes are restored. The executed command applies to the window and buffer where the command-line was started from. This works as if the command-line window was not there, except that there will be an extra screen redraw. The buffer used for the command-line window is deleted. Any changes to lines other than the one that is executed with <CR> are lost.
If you would like to execute the command under the cursor and then have the command-line window open again, you may find this mapping useful:
:autocmd CmdwinEnter * map <buffer> <F5> <CR>q:


The command-line window cannot be used when there already is a command-line window (no nesting).
Some options are set when the command-line window is opened: 'filetype' "vim", when editing an Ex command-line; this starts Vim syntax highlighting if it was enabled 'rightleft' off 'modifiable' on 'buftype' "nofile" 'swapfile' off
It is allowed to write the buffer contents to a file. This is an easy way to save the command-line history and read it back later.
If the 'wildchar' option is set to <Tab>, and the command-line window is used for an Ex command, then two mappings will be added to use <Tab> for completion in the command-line window, like this:
:inoremap <buffer> <Tab> <C-X><C-V>
:nnoremap <buffer> <Tab> a<C-X><C-V>
Note that hitting <Tab> in Normal mode will do completion on the next character. That way it works at the end of the line. If you don't want these mappings, disable them with:
au CmdwinEnter [:>] iunmap <buffer> <Tab>
au CmdwinEnter [:>] nunmap <buffer> <Tab>
You could put these lines in your vimrc file.
While in the command-line window you cannot use the mouse to put the cursor in another window, or drag statuslines of other windows. You can drag the statusline of the command-line window itself and the statusline above it. Thus you can resize the command-line window, but not others.
The getcmdwintype() function returns the type of the command-line being edited as described in cmdwin-char.
Nvim defines this default CmdWinEnter autocmd in the "nvim_cmdwin" group:
autocmd CmdWinEnter [:>] syntax sync minlines=1 maxlines=1
You can disable this in your config with "autocmd! nvim_cmdwin". default-autocmds


Two autocommand events are used: CmdwinEnter and CmdwinLeave. You can use the Cmdwin events to do settings specifically for the command-line window. Be careful not to cause side effects! Example:
:au CmdwinEnter :  let b:cpt_save = &cpt | set cpt=.
:au CmdwinLeave :  let &cpt = b:cpt_save
This sets 'complete' to use completion in the current window for i_CTRL-N. Another example:
:au CmdwinEnter [/?]  startinsert
This will make Vim start in Insert mode in the command-line window.
cmdline-char cmdwin-char The character used for the pattern indicates the type of command-line: : normal Ex command > debug mode command debug-mode / forward search string ? backward search string = expression for "= expr-register @ string for input() - text for :insert or :append
Commands index
Quick reference