I find that when running :echo message with a message variable that contains newlines, it displays the newline character as ^@. Often I'd prefer it to actually be split on a new line though. Do I have to split up the string manually and then make multiple calls to echo or is there a simpler way to do that?

edit: Here's an example that reproduces what I'm talking about: :echom "foo\nbar". I'm running gvim on windows

  • Can you be more specific about those newlines. Where is the text coming from. Are you on *nix or Windows? (Can't be regular, multi-line Vim text because that should work just fine.) – B Layer Dec 8 '18 at 3:19
  • Ok I updated the question – Steve Vermeulen Dec 8 '18 at 3:25

You originally mention :echo but based on your example it's :echom that is causing you issues so assuming that's right...

Some choices depending on your specific needs (e.g. do you care about the message being saved to the message history)...

:echo "foo\nbar"

:echon "foo\nbar"

:echom "foo" | echom "bar"

All of these will produce


Likely due to it's primary purpose being to print messages to be read by the user interactively, echom parses things a bit differently from the others. "Unprintable characters are displayed not interpreted". (Similar to the strtrans() function which also prints newlines as ^@).

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  • Ohh I didn't realize this behaviour was specific to echom. Thanks. – Steve Vermeulen Dec 8 '18 at 6:58
  • @SteveVermeulen No problem. Yeah I think the primary use case for echom, in contrast to the others, is real-time display of short messages for users. Thus you get qualities like avoiding non-printing chars and discouraging multi-line output. – B Layer Dec 8 '18 at 8:38

Although the question is about echo or echomsg, from some reason echoerr acts differently, so in addition to the 1st answer given, it may worth noting echomsg's caveats:

If you want to display an error with new lines, this won't work:

echoerr 'line 1 here\n' .
 \ 'line 2 there'

Removing the . won't help. Doing this:

echoerr 'line 1 here'
echoerr 'line 2 there'

Is a bit better - but the output looks like this:

Error detected while processing function 212:
line   18:
line 1 here
Press ENTER or type command to continue
Error detected while processing function 212:
line   19:
line 2 there
Press ENTER or type command to continue

And this is probably not what one would desire - having to press these ENTER keys.

Hence, the probably best solution is:

let v:errmsg = "line 1 here\n" .
  \ "line 2 there"
echo v:errmsg
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