Starting from a blank slate, how can I obtain a document that contains


To be clear, I don't want these numbers displayed in the margin; I want them inserted into the document itself.

5 Answers 5


Use :put and range():

:put =range(1,100)

To avoid the blank line at the top (kudos to romainl), use :0put:

:0put =range(1,100)
  • 2
    Or in insert mode with <C-r>=range(1,100).
    – Hotschke
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 18:54

In addition to Undo's pure-vim :put =range(1,100) (which actually leaves you with a blank line up top), you can, depending on your OS, use one of its commands. E.g., on a Unix/Linux box:

%!seq 1 100

The above works by piping the entire (empty) buffer to seq, which ignores its input and just outputs the numbers 1 to 100. Vim then replaces the entire buffer with seq's output.

That's useful when you're already familiar with some command-line way to get what you want.

  • This "unasks" the question which is why I think it is better than the accepted one. Yes, you can make vim do the job, just as you can use a crescent wrench to stir soup. Vim is a text editor, not an arbitrary text generator; there are much more obvious tools for that.
    – msw
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 3:11

For the record, and definitely not the shortest way (see @Undo's awesome solution), but sequence of keystrokes will do it too:


Let me break that down for you:

  1. i1<Esc> -- insert the number 1, then get back out to command mode
  2. qa -- start recording a macro in register "a"
  3. Y -- copy the current line
  4. p -- paste the current line (cursor will also move to the pasted line)
  5. <Ctrl>a -- increment the next number on the line, making it 2
  6. q -- stop recording the macro (was register "a")
  7. 98@a -- replay the macro in register "a" 98 times

Here is a different approach, that needs a newer Vim (something like 7.4.800)

This assumes an empty buffer and '1' in register a. First enter 100 1 into your buffer, "a100P.

Then visually select lines 2 till 100 :2EnterVG.

Now press gCtrl+A.

Read the help at :h v_g_CTRL-A

  • You have to add let @a="1" in your answer. Beginners might get stuck up to find how to store value 1 in register a.
    – SibiCoder
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 8:52
  • I have seen the gCtrl+A combo in other similar solutions. However I have been unable to find an explanation of what it is doing/how it works? Do you have a reference in the documentation that explains what g does? Thanks! If I find an explanation I will post it.
    – codingFoo
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 17:58
  • 1
    documentation is at :h g_CTRL-A Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 20:03
  • I had missed the link to the v_g_CTRL-A section.
    – codingFoo
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 20:13

I know this question is really old, but there's another way you can do it also. Try this:


99o<esc> will just open up 100 blank lines. Then, we run a substitute command:

:%                  " On every line
  s/                " substitute
    ^/              " the start of the line. (This will always match no matter what)
      \=            " Evaluate:
        line('.')   " The current line.

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