Suppose I have a line of text of the form (123[456{789}abc]def) and the cursor is inside the curly braces. In sublime text, we can use ctrl-shift-m repeatedly to jump to highlighting 789, {789}, 456{789}abc, [456{789}abc], etc. Is there a way to duplicate this operation in vim?

EDIT: I know there are %v% and vib but they are different commands and not as fluid.

  • 2
    Have you tried the vim-expand-region plugin? Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 7:40
  • I think matchit's va%a%a% would be the logical sequence, but it doesn't work because a) matchit's a% is completely broken and b) matchit doesn't appear to support extension with repeated "a" objects. Perhaps a modern replacement to matchit is needed?
    – Mass
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 15:17

2 Answers 2


If I were on the first charater of the line I would do:

f7 to jump to inside the curly braces. vw to hilight 789 To contincously move outward I would do


But I am sure there is a better way.


Plugin vim-matchup

Mass has written the plugin match-up which allows you to press:

v a% a% a%

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However, there are many more plugins which provide a single command to expand over different types of brackets:

A cloc comparison if you look for a lightweight plugin enter image description here
(code size by number of source code and comment lines)

Please note plugins which depend on vim-textobj-user cannot be expanded, e.g. vim-textobj-anyblock. This is documented under :h textobj-user-known-issues (second item).

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