I have a file which has the following structure

From: [email protected]
Subject: Bar
Date: 2017-06-27
Mailbox: /some/dire/ctory

Such a block always contains of four lines followed by an empty line. I want to delete all blocks which contain Subject: Bar. In the past I recorded keystrokes and replayed them. So I searched for the string (/Subject: Bar), hit dap and replayed it. This took quite a while for larger files. Thatswhy I'm looking for another approach.

How can I delete blocks of text in vim when they contain a search pattern?

  • 1
    I think this question can be rephrased as "How can I delete all headers from an email or mbox file?" Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


You can use a macro:

Once your search register is set to Subject: Bar you can empty a register (q in this example) and record the following macro:


The first line empties the q register, the second creates a macro like this:

qq           start recording
n            go to next match
dap          delete the paragraph
@q           call the macro recursively
q            stop recording

Then you simply need to play the macro once: @q

Or you could use a global command:

g/Subject: bar/norm! dap

Which means: for each line matching Subject: bar execute the ex command norm! dap

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