# Vim documentation: cmdline

main help file
*cmdline.txt*   For Vim version 7.2.  Last change: 2008 Sep 18

VIM REFERENCE MANUAL    by Bram Moolenaar

*Cmdline-mode* *Command-line-mode*

Command-line mode		*Cmdline* *Command-line* *mode-cmdline* *:*

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|
2. Command-line completion	|cmdline-completion|
3. Ex command-lines		|cmdline-lines|
4. Ex command-line ranges	|cmdline-ranges|
5. Ex command-line flags	|ex-flags|
6. Ex special characters	|cmdline-special|
7. Command-line window		|cmdline-window|

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. - 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. When Vim was compiled with the |+cmdline_compl| feature disabled, only file names, directories and help items can be completed. 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' option). 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_CTRL-N* CTRL-N After using 'wildchar' which got multiple matches, go to next match. Otherwise recall more recent command-line from history. <S-Tab> *c_CTRL-P* *c_<S-Tab>* CTRL-P After using 'wildchar' which got multiple matches, go to previous match. Otherwise recall older command-line from history. <S-Tab> only works with the GUI, on the Amiga and with MS-DOS. *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. 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. 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 '*' and '?' are accepted. '*' matches any string, '?' matches exactly one character. 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. *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". Examples: 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. 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. 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>
3. Ex command-lines *cmdline-lines* The Ex commands have a few specialties: *:quote* '"'' 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 friends, because they see the '"'' as part of their argument. *: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 :command :cscope :debug :folddoopen :folddoclosed :function :global :help :helpfind :lcscope :make :normal :perl :perldo :promptfind :promptrepl :pyfile :python :registers :read ! :scscope :tcl :tcldo :tclfile :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|. Examples: :!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: :1,$:s/pat/string When the character '%' or '#' is used where a file name is expected, they are expanded to the current and alternate file name (see the chapter "editing files" |:_%| |:_#|). Embedded spaces in file names are allowed on the Amiga if one file name is expected as argument. Trailing spaces will be ignored, unless escaped with a backslash or CTRL-V. Note that the ":next" command uses spaces to separate file names. Escape the spaces to include them in a file name. Example: :next foo\ bar goes\ to school\ starts editing the three files "foo bar", "goes to" and "school ". When you want to use the special characters '"'' or '|' in a command, or want to use '%' or '#' in a file name, precede them with a backslash. The backslash is not required in a range and in the ":substitute" command. *:_!* The '!' (bang) character after an Ex command makes the command behave in a different way. The '!' should be placed immediately after the command, without any blanks in between. If you insert blanks the '!' will be seen as an argument for the command, which has a different meaning. For example: :w! name write the current buffer to file "name", overwriting any existing file :w !name send the current buffer as standard input to command "name" 4. Ex command-line ranges *cmdline-ranges* *[range]* *E16* Some Ex commands accept a line range in front of them. This is noted as [range]. It consists of one or more line specifiers, separated with ',' or ';'. The basics are explained in section |10.3| of the user manual. *:,* *:;* When separated with ';' the cursor position will be set to that line before interpreting the next line specifier. This doesn't happen for ','. Examples: 4,/this line/ from line 4 till match with "this line" after the cursor line. 5;/that line/ from line 5 till match with "that line" after line 5. The default line specifier for most commands is the cursor position, but the commands ":write" and ":global" have the whole file (1,$) 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* *E14* *{address}* {number} an absolute line number . the current line *:.* $the last line in the file *:$* % equal to 1,$(the entire file) *:%* 't position of mark t (lowercase) *:'* 'T position of mark T (uppercase); when the mark is in another file it cannot be used in a range /{pattern}[/] the next line where {pattern} matches *:/* ?{pattern}[?] the previous line where {pattern} matches *:?* \/ the next line where the previously used search pattern matches \? the previous line where the previously used search pattern matches \& the next line where the previously used substitute pattern matches Each may be followed (several times) by '+' or '-' and an optional number. This number is added or subtracted from the preceding line number. If the number is omitted, 1 is used. The "/" and "?" after {pattern} are required to separate the pattern from anything that follows. The "/" and "?" may be preceded with another address. The search starts from there. The difference from using ';' is that the cursor isn't moved. Examples: /pat1//pat2/ Find line containing "pat2" after line containing "pat1", without moving the cursor. 7;/pat2/ Find line containing "pat2", after line 7, leaving the cursor in line 7. The {number} must be between 0 and the number of lines in the file. When using a 0 (zero) this is interpreted as a 1 by most commands. Commands that use it as a count do use it as a zero (|:tag|, |:pop|, etc). Some commands interpret the zero as "before the first line" (|:read|, search pattern, etc). Examples: .+3 three lines below the cursor /that/+1 the line below the next line containing "that" .,$ 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). Examples: :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.
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 special characters in a Vim script you may want to use |fnameescape()|. 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() |expand()|. % Is replaced with the current file name. *:_%* *c_%* # Is replaced with the alternate file name. *:_#* *c_#* #n (where n is a number) is replaced with the file name of buffer n. "#0" is the same as "#". ## 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* {only when compiled with the +eval and +viminfo features} 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 \# # \\# \# *:<cword>* *:<cWORD>* *:<cfile>* *<cfile>* *:<sfile>* *<sfile>* *:<afile>* *<afile>* *:<abuf>* *<abuf>* *:<amatch>* *<amatch>* *E495* *E496* *E497* *E498* *E499* *E500* Note: these are typed literally, they are not special keys! <cword> is replaced with the word under the cursor (like |star|) <cWORD> is replaced with the WORD under the cursor (see |WORD|) <cfile> is replaced with the path name under the cursor (like what |gf| uses) <afile> when executing autocommands, is replaced with the file name for a file read or write <abuf> when executing autocommands, is replaced with the currently effective buffer number (for ":r file" and ":so file" it is the current buffer, the file being read/sourced is not in a buffer). <amatch> when executing autocommands, is replaced with the match for which this autocommand was executed. It differs from <afile> only when the file name isn't used to match with (for FileType, Syntax and SpellFileMissing events). <sfile> when executing a ":source" command, is replaced with the file name of the sourced file; when executing a function, is replaced with "function {function-name}"; function call nesting is indicated like this: "function {function-name1}..{function-name2}". Note that filename-modifiers are useless when <sfile> is used inside a function. *filename-modifiers* *:_%:* *::8* *::p* *::.* *::~* *::h* *::t* *::r* *::e* *::s* *::gs* The file name modifiers can be used after "%", "#", "#n", "<cfile>", "<sfile>", "<afile>" or "<abuf>". They are also used with the |fnamemodify()| function. These are not available when Vim has been compiled without the |+modify_fname| feature. 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 and VMS) 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. :8 Converts the path to 8.3 short format (currently only on win32). 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 MS-DOS, WIN32, OS/2; "drive:" for Amiga), 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., ".vimrc"), 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 "path" with "sub". Otherwise this works like ":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 also work, like in :n echo *.c (backtick expansion is not possible in |restricted-mode|) 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} 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 (MS-DOS, Windows, OS/2), 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: FILE NAME INTERPRETED AS $home expanded to value of environment var$home \$home file "$home" in current directory /\$home file "$home" in root directory \\$home file "\\", followed by expanded$home