@: repeats the last colon command I entered, but also seems to include :write

so often I go through this kind of workflow:


Now I go to another line and want to run :s/foo/bar again, but @: runs :w instead.

Can I get @: to ignore :w?

  • IIRC “: is readonly; that said, you might (might) be able to accomplish something with a remapping of @: by saving the command string in a global var on Enter at command line (but only for : lines, and only if not write (of which there are many variants))
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Nov 27, 2018 at 4:39
  • Write a function named ExecuteLastNotWrite() and map @: :call ExecuteLastNotWrite()<CR>. In the function get the last entry from the history(histget("cmd", -1)). If :w, get the second to last. Then execute the fetched command. See :help histget().
    – Ralf
    Nov 27, 2018 at 5:12
  • 1
    Do you know that you can repeat the last :s with & (current line) and the last :%s with g& (run substitute over complete file)?
    – Hotschke
    Nov 27, 2018 at 8:13

1 Answer 1


It seems you basically understand correctly: ": is a readonly register that contains the last executed command. @: will execute this register. Feel free to read up on this: :help ": and :help @.

Further, your issue is that you want to repeat a command but you are issuing a new command in between, :write, which obviously overwrites ":. You ask: "Can I get @: to ignore :w?". Of course, yes, you can define a new command that uses histget() and map it to @:, as is suggested by @Ralf in the comments. However, I will advice that you instead reconsider your own workflow. Instead of changing @:, try to compose repeatable commands. For instance, instead of



:s/foo/bar/e | update

Here I've added the e flag, which prevents the substitute command from failing if there are no foos found. Then I use | (:help bar) to add a new command to be executed after, and I use :update instead of :write to only write the file if there is a change.

In my opinion, this is a better solution than changing how Vim works.

  • that's so long to type out every time, and it relies on me knowing that I will want to repeat a substitute in advance
    – minseong
    Nov 29, 2018 at 3:29

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