I'd like to define a vim command with the following functionality.

60<F7>= insert = at the end of the line until the line become 60 characters long.

<F7>* insert * until the line becomes as long as the value of colorcolumn.

The preexisting text on the line should be separated from the inserted characters by a space.

1 Answer 1


Well, doing this in vimscript is not that hard. For example, the following command will do what you describe to the line your cursor is on:

:exec 'norm '.(&cc - strlen(getline('.'))).'A='

The way this works is it determines the length of the current line and subtracts that from the current value of 'colorcolumn'. This evaluates to a string, and is executed as if you had typed it. For example, on a line with 10 characters, and with 'colorcolumn' set to 80 this is equivalent to typing:


You can also be more specific about which line to do this to. For example, to do this to line 3:

:exec 'norm '.(&cc - strlen(getline(3))).'A='

Or the line that mark a is on:

:exec 'norm '.(&cc - strlen(getline("'a"))).'A='

To wrap this up in a convenient mapping, I would recommend this:

function! Append(c)
  exec 'norm '.(&cc - strlen(getline('.'))).'A'.nr2char(a:c)

nnoremap <expr> m ':call Append('.getchar().")\<CR>"
  • By automatically I simply meant that I was looking for a command that can be mapped, so your answer is perfect. One question though. How could I map this to something that can be prepended with a length and appended with a character I want? So, for example, I'd like to type 60<F7>* for the current line to extend to column 60 by appending a bunch of *s?
    – SU3
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 1:00
  • @SU3 I know how to do that! I'll edit my answer some more, but you should put those details into your main post. That would have been useful to know at first
    – DJMcMayhem
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 1:02
  • Sure. I just couldn't formulate it properly at first.
    – SU3
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 1:04
  • Might be worth mentioning that this works on visual ranges too. Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 2:48

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