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I intend to use this to optionally share the search buffer between different Vim instances. I'll have a file on the filesystem that contains the content. So it means I need to set the search register with the contents of a file.

I'm hoping there's a clean Vimscript way to do this. It's ok if it uses python or any other language integration too.

I think this is how to edit the register: let @/ = [whatever]

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    For the record someone made a plugins which seems to be doing what you want: github.com/dahu/VimSharedSearch I've never tried it so I don't know what it's worth.
    – statox
    Aug 2 '17 at 7:13
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This was easy.

nnoremap <silent> <Leader>n :let @/ = join(readfile(glob("~/.vim/.search")), "\n")<CR>

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