I really like and often use the cgn command for replacing something I was currently searching for, but it sort of lacks a (imho) rather intuitive feature: replace the word (or whatever) under the cursor. My current approach is to search for the word in question, but that feels like a hack, plus the cursor immediately moves onwards to the next hit.

Is there any way to use cgn on the current word?


2 Answers 2


There is no built-in way to do it (as an option), as far as I know.

I have the following mapping:

" change current word (like ciw) but repeatable with dot . for the same next
" word
nnoremap <silent> c<Tab> :let @/=expand('<cword>')<cr>cgn

Basically what it does is:

  1. make current search term == word under cursor (without actual search and jump)
  2. call cgn -- and it will use current search from 1.)

For reference:

  • :h @/
  • :h <cword>
  • Instead of :let @/=expand('<cword>')<cr> can't you simply use * or # in normal mode to search for the word under the cursor, and then use cgn? :h star
    – statox
    Feb 13, 2019 at 10:17
  • @statox I can, but the cursor will jump to the next occurrence of the word
    – Maxim Kim
    Feb 13, 2019 at 10:43
  • Oh right I use a mapping to avoid the cursor to jump, I forgot about that.
    – statox
    Feb 13, 2019 at 12:33

Make * stay at the cursor position

nnoremap * m`:keepjumps normal! *``<cr>


Plugins for *: vim-asterisk, vim-slash, ...

There are quite a few (lightweight) plugins which try to enhance searching in vim with the star command.

Typically, people miss that the star command does not consider a visual selection and secondly, what you want, to not move the cursor when pressing *.

After installation of one of these, you would press *cgn to achieve what you want.

In case of vim-asterisk, you have to override the builtin * yourself in your vimrc. vim-asterisk suggests:

map *   <Plug>(asterisk-*)
map #   <Plug>(asterisk-#)
map g*  <Plug>(asterisk-g*)
map g#  <Plug>(asterisk-g#)
map z*  <Plug>(asterisk-z*)
map gz* <Plug>(asterisk-gz*)
map z#  <Plug>(asterisk-z#)
map gz# <Plug>(asterisk-gz#)

where z* means stay. However, you can make * to stay with

map *  <Plug>(asterisk-z*)
map #  <Plug>(asterisk-z#)
map g* <Plug>(asterisk-gz*)
map g# <Plug>(asterisk-gz#)

vim-slash does this for you. This might be a reason to prefer vim-asterisk because you have control of what gets remapped.

There are more of them. Just to give you an idea I mention a few:

Plugin with new operator: sad.vim

If you like an explicit mapping for this operation, consider https://github.com/hauleth/sad.vim. This remaps s (changes builtin and clashes with a few other plugins, e.g. vim-sneak and vim-sandwich). siw and then press . as often you want to repeat the change for the next search matches.

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