Columns in vim

How many times have you wanted to replace a column of text with something. With vim it's easy. Just use CTRL-V to select a column using a visual block.

Once it's selected, you can do a search and replace, yank, cut and other actions. For example, here's the keystrokes to change a column.

  • Put cursor and beginning of text to select
  • Press CTRL-V to begin select of the column
  • When you reach the end of your select, type 'c'
  • Type the new text. Note that this will only replace the first instance.
  • Now hit <ESC><ESC>. All the text has been changed!

The same thing works with plain old 'v' (select character by character) and SHIFT-V (select by line).

Happy vimming!