From the following text:

variable1 = 'example'
foo = 'foo'
barett = 'ver'

I would like to yank (or visually select, if possible) the content of each line until the = sign:


That is: "yank/visually select the contents of the following lines, stopping the yanking/selection in each line as soon as an = character is found"

If I were dealing with a single line it would be simple> from the beginning of the line: yt=

But I have no clue how to do this with multiple lines (and visual block won't help since I don't want the same number of characters from each line).

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure this is what you want, but you could try this mapping:

xno my y'>pV']:s/=.*//<cr>gvd

To use it, you would visually select your lines, then hit my. It should write the text before the = character on each line of your selection, inside the unnamed register.

Here's what it does:

  • y yanks the selection
  • '> moves the cursor to the last line of the selection
  • p puts the unnamed register, where currently the last yanked text is
  • V goes into visual line mode
  • '] moves the end of the selection down to the last line of the last text on which you performed an operation (here the yanking)
  • :s/=.*//<cr> removes everything after the = character, on each line of the selection
  • gv reselects the last selection
  • d deletes it
  • 1
    I'm giving it a go. Maybe instead of the last yu I could use d? Otherwise the uundoes the :s/=.*//<cr>, not the pasting. Jun 27, 2017 at 12:44
  • @user2891462 Indeed, you're right, d should work too, and it's shorter.
    – user547381
    Jun 27, 2017 at 12:50
  • ytx – yank from the current cursor position up to and before the character (til x)
  • yfx – yank from the current cursor position up to and including the character (find x)
  • 2
    Thanks Natan. I now how to do it in a single line (I mention it in the question), what I wanted to know is how to do it on multiple lines at the same time. Check out @user547381's answer for something which worked for me. Jun 13, 2022 at 12:34

The following should work without pasting/deleting:

:let @a = ''
[visually select, or don't to use the whole file]
:global/=/normal! 0"Ayt=
  1. Empty an alphabetic register (qaq works for this too)
  2. On each line (possibly in the range) matching =, do 0"Ayt=, which appends to the a register as it yanks.

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