I can pipe a paragraph through an external command using !ip and the cursor goes to the end of the following prompt:


If I want to use the built-in sort or center functions I could specify the line numbers manually, but I have relative numbers so I would need to count or use visual mode. So currently I use, for example, !ip<backspace>sort or !2}<backspace>center. This gives me the flexibility to use any kind of range for the command, and I can run it from anywhere inside the range.


Is there a way I could do something similar to !<range> but ending up without the ! at the end of the prompt, that I then need to delete? Something like <foo>ipsort to end up with :.,.+6sort.

  • 1
    it is explained in the help: :h N: Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:12
  • That doesn't work in the middle of a paragraph though, whereas !ip for example would.
    – ACP
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:15
  • 2
    How about using vip:sort?
    – Tumbler41
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 14:44
  • That's the closest I've found, I was wondering if there was a way to do this but without the visual select.
    – ACP
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 15:00
  • I'm confused, but could a mapping like nnoremap ps :.,sort<left><left><left><left> helps you? It gives you a prompt prepared to sort from here (. is already set) and you can set the end point for the range.
    – nobe4
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


the vim range command supports relative ranges. So if you are anywhere in your paragraph and you do not want to use visual mode, you can type i.e.:


Which would use the line above the current line and the following two lines.

If you would like to know more about ranges :h range.


As far as I know this isn't built-in. However, since it !{motion} results in the notation :<range>! you can just remove the ! in command-line mode and enter your ex command instead. For the :sort command, it could be done like this !{motion}<BS>sort (e.g. !ip<BS>sort)

  • I think OP does that but is looking for a cleaner solution
    – Biggybi
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 5:18

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