I am looking for a way to replace

\cmd1{stuff \cmd2{other stuff}}


(stuff \cmd2{other stuff})

I have tried


However, this returns

(stuff \cmd2{other stuff)}

since the first } after { is taken because of \{-} -- taking the greedy version does not help, in the case that there is another } later on the line.

Is there a better expression to put inside {\( \)} so that \( \) encompasses everything up to the matching } to {?

  • I'm presuming you need it to work for arbitrary numbers of nested cmds? e.g. \cmd1{stuff \cmd2{other stuff \cmd3{even more stuff}}} ?
    – Rich
    Feb 8, 2018 at 15:42
  • And for multiple matches on the line? \cmd1{stuff \cmd2{other stuff}} more stuff \cmd1{even more stuff \cmd2{yet other stuff}}
    – Rich
    Feb 8, 2018 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Regular Expression

If you don't need to be able to support arbitrary levels of nesting, (if there's never a \cmd3 inside your \cmd2), then you can do this by incorporating the inner brackets into your expression, and matching "any character that's not a bracket" [^}] instead of "any character" .:


Macro Alternative

Otherwise, you can use a macro instead:

You're using the c confirm flag to inspect every change, so try the following:

  1. /\\cmd1{<Cr>: Find the first \cmd1
  2. qq: Start recording
  3. dt{: delete the \cmd1
  4. %: Jump to matching }
  5. r)``r(: Replace curly brackets with round ones
  6. n: Jump to next match
  7. q: Stop recording

Then press @q to repeat the change, or n to skip this instance and jump to the next. After you've used @q at least once, you can use @@ as a faster shortcut.

If you actually don't want to review the changes as you make them, you can make the macro recursive by changing the recording steps 2–7 to:


You can then invoke it a single time to make all the changes in one go: @q


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