This is a problem I had recently. I have a file with several hundred lines of text. How can I search for a string between two specific line numbers? For e.g. I want to search between line numbers 100 and 325.

4 Answers 4


then press :147<CR> to jump to the desired line.

You can also use :ilist:

:100,235il foo<CR>

See :help range, :help :global and :help :ilist.


There is another way to search between particular lines.




This will search from line 200 to 299 for the pattern 'good'.

%>199l - l is for line, >199 denotes the lines greater than 199
  • 100GV325G<esc> visually select lines from 100 to 325, return to normal mode.
  • /\v%Vpattern use :h /\%V to limit search ranges to last visual area.

If your pattern contains newline, you must add another \%V to restrict pattern end in visual area:

  • :h /\%V

Sometimes you need to search for a given symbol within a function/method

  void f(bool b)

  void g(bool b)

In order to search for b in f() only:

  • go to { of f()
  • enter visual mode with V
  • go to end of f() with '%'
  • go to exec line with ':' command.
  • once you are in command line input il b to get :'<,'>il b

After <CR>(enter) you get

  1:   15     b;
  2:   16     b;
Press ENTER or type command to continue
  • Welcomr to Vi and Vim! How is this substantially different from romainl’s answer?
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 12:24
  • 1
    Thanks! Firstly, I believe that people new to vim and not familiar with % and visual mode can find them useful. Secondly, there is no need to explicitly input the range of lines. Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 12:45
  • 1
    Ok, then I would suggest explaining how their usage is relevant and keys into the ilist
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 12:56

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