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LLE10163 : Howto make search and replaces in vim

Symptom:

You need to search and replace in a vim document

Cause:

Vim is extremely good in these things although it is not that simple

Solution:

To search and replace you can use the "substitute" command. This can be done by writing :substitute or with the short version :s. The command needs to be followed by a text to be searched, a

text for the replacement and some extra information.

Suffixes for the command:

g: global — each occurrence in the line is changed, not just the first one of every line!
i: case insensitive
I: case sensitive
c: confirmation - ask me first

The command also can have a prefix:

%: applies to every line, not just the current line
a,b: where a and b are numbers. From line a till line b
'a,'b: where a and b are numbers. All lines between the a and b marks
.,$: between the current line (.) and the last line ($)
.,+5: between the current line (.) and the next 5 lines (+5)
1,$: between the first line and the last line (hey, this is the same as %)


There are a lot of options, but these are the most needed ones:

The following will find each occurrence of "foo" in your text, and replace it with "bar".

:%s/foo/bar/g

or

:%substitute/foo/bar/g

You can use the same command and add confirmation.

:%s/foo/bar/gc

If your want to change whole words only (exact matching of foo)

:%s/\<foo\>/bar/gc

To be case insensitive, you can add an i at the end.

:%s/foo/bar/gci

The previous command changes "foo" to "bar" globally, case insensitive and ask for confirmation.

Of course we can ask to be case sensitive by adding a capital I at the end.

:%s/foo/bar/gcI


Some more information about what you are searching:

    \/ is / You need to escape the forward slash with a backslash
    \t is tab, \s is any whitespace
    \n is newline, \r is CR (carriage return = Ctrl-M = ^M)

When replacing:

    \r is newline, \n is a null byte (0x00).
    \& is ampersand which needs to be escaped too (& is the search pattern).

You can use other delimiters with substitute which can be usefull for URL's

    :s#http://www.example.com/index.html#http://example.com/#

In this case you can avoid escaping the / character.

For mor information look at the help which is included in vim.

Nice to know is the fact that a Ctrl-z can undo all the changed you just made!

Disclaimer:

The information provided in this document is intended for your information only. Lubby makes no claims to the validity of this information. Use of this information is at own risk!
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