By simply calling :(range)g/bob/norm Axxx I can add xxx to the to the end of all lines in range containing bob. Is there a way to return to normal mode after having used A/I/a/i to enter insert mode, all within a command, in order to perform more actions to the matching lines without starting another command?

  • :help :bar seems to be what you what to read
    – Naumann
    Aug 6, 2018 at 22:34
  • @user642832 So? Did my answer help?
    – B Layer
    Aug 10, 2018 at 20:33

1 Answer 1


Let's say that we're using the global command to surround each matching line with brackets. (This is not really a good way to bracket text. It's just for illustration here.)

You hinted at maybe inserting an Esc somewhere in there. Perhaps like this...

:g/bob/ norm! A}<ESC>I{

But that approach won't work.

Others might have a first instinct to try something like this:

:g/bob/ norm! A} | norm! I{

Alas, this won't work either. Both these cases see everything after the opening A as text to be appended.

Digging deeper into the second approach, if we look at :h :norm we'll find the following:

This command cannot be followed by another command, since any '|' is considered part of the command.

Fortunately we can get around this by embedding that first :norm command in an execute call (:h :exe)...

:g/bob/ exe "norm! A}" | norm! I{

That does the trick. Using :exe allows us to implicitly signal the end of the first :norm.

Note that this is a generally applicable solution that answers the question "How do I follow :norm with another command?".

  • If it is used in place (not inside a script) i would prefer to insert a literal Escape: g/bob/norm! A}<C-v><Esc>I{ Sep 9, 2018 at 0:27
  • @SaulAxelMartinezOrtiz If you're talking about those times that one enters a command manually I would tend to use Ctrl-V myself. In any other scenario, including when providing answers here, I avoid Ctrl-V. Such commands are very often ambiguous to folks who aren't familiar so extra explanatory text is necessary. And they frequently cause trouble for people who unknowingly try to copy/paste such commands.
    – B Layer
    Sep 9, 2018 at 4:15

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