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Change between backslash and forward slash

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Tip 431 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created 2003 · complexity basic · version 6.0


In Windows, file paths use a backslash as a delimiter. This tip helps easily change between backslash and forward slash. For example, you could change C:\data\doc.txt to C:/data/doc.txt, or vice versa.

Change to forward/back slashesEdit

The following mappings (for your vimrc) allow easily changing slashes in the current line.

nnoremap <silent> <Leader>/ :let tmp=@/<Bar>s:\\:/:ge<Bar>let @/=tmp<Bar>noh<CR>
nnoremap <silent> <Leader><Bslash> :let tmp=@/<Bar>s:/:\\:ge<Bar>let @/=tmp<Bar>noh<CR>

By default the <Leader> key is backslash, and <Bslash> is a way to refer to a backslash in a mapping, so by default these commands map \/ and \\ respectively.

Press \/ to change every backslash to a forward slash, in the current line.

Press \\ to change every forward slash to a backslash, in the current line.

The mappings save and restore the search register (@/) so a previous search can be continued, if wanted. The :noh command is used to remove search highlighting (if enabled) to avoid search hits being highlighted after setting the search register.

In the substitute command (:s), a colon (:) is used as a delimiter, so the slashes do not need to be escaped. The substitute flags (ge) cause all occurrences on the line to be substituted (g), and no error to be reported if no slash is found (e).

Toggle forward/back slashesEdit

The following script provides a command and a mapping to easily toggle slashes in the current line, or a range of lines.

function! ToggleSlash(independent) range
  let from = ''
  for lnum in range(a:firstline, a:lastline)
    let line = getline(lnum)
    let first = matchstr(line, '[/\\]')
    if !empty(first)
      if a:independent || empty(from)
        let from = first
      endif
      let opposite = (from == '/' ? '\' : '/')
      call setline(lnum, substitute(line, from, opposite, 'g'))
    endif
  endfor
endfunction
command! -bang -range ToggleSlash <line1>,<line2>call ToggleSlash(<bang>1)
noremap <silent> <F8> :ToggleSlash<CR>

After sourcing the script, press F8 or enter :ToggleSlash to toggle between forward and back slashes. If no lines are selected, the command operates on the current line. If multiple lines are selected, the command operates on each selected line. A line is ignored if it does not contain a slash.

By default, each line is handled independently: if the first slash in the line is a forward slash, all slashes in that line are changed to backslashes; if the first slash is a backslash, all slashes are changed to forward slashes.

Enter :ToggleSlash! to force changes to each selected line to be the same: if the first slash found is a forward slash, all slashes in all selected lines are changed to backslashes; otherwise, all slashes in all selected lines are changed to forward slashes.

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