I am copy pasting a big chunk of code from an article in PDF format. The issue is that the operation is replacing every * character (the multiply operator in Fortran) by some sort of slash character, which isn't the generic slach character in Vim (used for division in Fortran).

For example, consider the expressions:

s2 = exp(-w * t)
s3 = 1.0_wp / s2

When copy pasting, I get the following:

enter image description here

As you can see, the regular slash is highlighted in yellow while the asterisk character was changed to some other kind of slash. I could very well go over every character and replace them, but that's not very reliable and would take quite a while (few thousand lines of code...). Ideally, I'd like to change them all in the following manner:


I've found how to search and replace unprintable characters. ga or :ascii prints the hexa/octa value of the character under the cursor (in my case hexa 2044). However, when running :%s/\%x2044/\*/g, I can the error Err: pattern not found: \%x2044.

Also, I've tried typing * when the character is under the cursor (then I could search and replace last searched character) but it searched for the next word instead. In the example above, it would search for t instead.


1 Answer 1


Excerpt from :help /\%x (emphasis mine):

\%x2a       Matches the character specified with up to two hexadecimal characters. \%u20AC  Matches the character specified with up to four hexadecimal characters.

So you need to use \%u2044, rather than \%x2044, which will search for <Space>44.

You can also copy-paste it to the commandline or type <C-v>u2044 in the commandline to get a literal ; you don't need to escape it with \%u to use it in the :s command (or most other commands).

Finally, I find unicode.vim a very useful plugin. Using :UnicodeName on the character gives:

'⁄' U+2044 Dec:8260 FRACTION SLASH (/f) &frasl; /\%u2044

Note how this includes the /\%u2044 ready for copy/pasting :-)

  • @ChristianBrabandt your plugin is wonderful. I cut and paste pdf abstracts all the time, which results every time in a lot of hateful unicodes, for left and right quotes. Problem evaporated! Wasn't obvious to a novice like me how to install the plugin, but this site was very helpful
    – Leo Simon
    Feb 26, 2017 at 18:15

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