I'm currently stuck on this problem. I want, in a vimscript, to replace a variable's brackets when they contain a certain pattern.

To say this differently, say I have a variable foo = "[content] bar" . My purpose is to replace [content] with an empty string, which means that after the substitution we'll get: foo = " bar".

The current solution I could find is:

let foo = substitute(foo, "\[\]", "") | let foo = substitute(foo, "content", "")

but couldn't manage to get it in one call.

Is there something I'm missing? Could this be done more easily?


1 Answer 1


You can do it like this:


this somewhat cryptic regexp means to replace everything from start of bracket [ followed by anything not a closing bracket [^]]* followed by the closing bracket ] by nothing.

Update Since you like to replace variable contents, let me show how to do that. Suppose you have a variable foo (:let foo="[content] bar"), then you can do:

let foo=substitute(foo, '\[[^]]*\]', '', 'g')

The echo '|'.foo.'|' returns | bar| (note the leading space).

Make sure, to use single quotation marks, for double quotation marks you need to double the backslashes, as is explained in the help at :h expr-quote

  • Thanks Christian for the answer, I thought of using the :substitute command and indeed your suggestion is correct. However, I need this in a function, and applied to the foo var. Any thoughts?
    – J. Doe
    Aug 21, 2017 at 18:01
  • the regex is still the same. You would simply use something like this: let foo=substitute(foo, <regex>, '', 'g') Aug 21, 2017 at 18:03
  • I just tried, that doesn't replace anything :'(
    – J. Doe
    Aug 21, 2017 at 18:09
  • @J.Doe you replaced <regex> by '\[[^]]*\]' in the substitute() call right?
    – statox
    Aug 21, 2017 at 18:14
  • @statox yes, that's what I did.
    – J. Doe
    Aug 21, 2017 at 18:16

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