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Word under cursor for command

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created September 7, 2004 · complexity basic · author Vasudev Nayak · version 6.0

During editing, there are many situations where one would like to do a command based on the word under cursor. Idea is to yank into a register and then use this register automatically. Basis of this functionality are two commands

  • Yanking into a register, for example: "zyiw - will yank the word into z reg, "byy - yanks the line into b reg
  • Concatenating the register to a command and executing it. :exe "/".@z.""<CR> - searches for string in z reg
  • Alternately you can replace @z by <C-r>z which will directly replace z by its content.

Some more examples:

a) Let's say that you have a file that has a list of files. You don't want to edit all the files, but selectively.

:map <F2> "zyiw:exe "vs ".@z.""<CR>

Pressing <F2> will open the file in vertically split window.

b) Browsing a text file and saving all those difficult words you want to refer to during leisure

Open the text file and in a split window open an empty file.

:map <F2> "zyiw<C-w>wo<Esc>"zp<C-w>w

yank the word under cursor, change window, paste and return

c) Help in help in help :help :help

:map <F3> "zyiw:exe "h ".@z.""<CR>

Press <F3> on any word and we can see vim help for that keyword.


You can use <C-R><C-W> on the ':' command line to paste the word under cursor. So, to open a file in a vertically split window:

:vs <C-R><C-W><CR>


:vs <cfile> <CR>

Anyway, there are alternatives to some of the examples given:

  • "*": searches the word under cursor
  • "gf": opens the file under the cursor
  • "<C-W>f": same, horizontal split

Just want to note that your example:

:map <F2> "zyiw<C-w>wo<Esc>"zp<C-w>w

works not only with the word under the cursor but with all selected text. Very useful for note-taking and so forth.

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