Comfortable handling of registers

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Tip 1562 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created 2008 · complexity basic · author Benshi · version 7.0

This tip explains how to cycle between several registers, while accessing their content through the standard "unnamed" register (@").

To easily swap between different registers it is convenient to map a key to move the registers in a "circular list". The following mapping illustrates the idea:

:nnoremap <Leader>s :let @x=@" \| let @"=@a \| let @a=@b \| let @b=@x<CR>

Now you can cycle between the registers "", "a, "b by pressing \s (assuming the default backslash for the leader key).

  • :let @a=@b copies register "b to register "a.
  • | separates Ex commands; \ escapes the pipe for the map command.

This is also useful if you want to copy between the xclipboard and the unnamed standard register of Vim:

:nnoremap <Leader>s :let @a=@" \| let @"=@+ \| let @+=@a<CR>

Another usage can be found in cycling through the cut/copy history, i.e. cycling through the numbered registers.

To see what it's changing, you could modify the command like this:

:nnoremap <Leader>s :let @x=@" \| let @"=@a \| let @a=@b \| let @b=@x \| reg "ab<CR>

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