I would like to search the word under my cursor. For this, I tried to press *. But, if the word I want to search is #foo, as an example, vim only searches word foo (without hash), so it fails.

In fact, the # is not considered in the word, which is confirmed when I try to go to the next word with w.

Do you know how I can search effectively #titi by pressing * on my keyboard?

  • Besides warnings about changing iskeyword consider this: how should all of the non-keyword characters that are fully or partially pattern atoms (i.e. they are special in a regex) be handled. Existing * functionality doesn't need to worry about how to handle *, ?, (, etc. That functionality would need to be well defined.
    – B Layer
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 23:58
  • for the rare cases I need this, I usually just use g* instead of * and continue jumping using n until I find what I am looking for. Commented May 6, 2019 at 11:15

3 Answers 3


What is considered to be part of a word is defined, I think, by iskeyword. You can try to change this setting to include # and see if it solves your case.

More info: :help 'iskeyword'

  • 1
    Do be careful with this, as it does affect a lot of things
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 17:30
  • Of course it does affect a lot of things! How can i change keywords just for # and - (i want for exemple #foo-bar to be just one word)? i tried before but i did not succeed. The problem is that i also want to use tags with CTRL + ], so maybe i cannot do set iskeyword="" as far as i understand. Mathieu
    – user22113
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 18:47

You can use a visual selection first to highlight all the text you want to search for, then run your search. If #foo is surrounded by whitespace, it's even easier; you could simply do viW*.

Reference: :help v_star-default

Note: This is Neovim specific does not work in Vim


A solution without changing the iskeyword option or using * would be to put the whole white-space delimited word (see :help WORD) under the cursor with Ctrl-RCtrl-A (see :help c_CTRL-R_CTRL-A) into search, or:


Now * (as opposed to g*) also has the nice touch of wrapping the word in boundaries like this \<foo\>. If you want to match #foo but not #foobar, you need to add them yourself:


This is a little more typing than a simple * but not too much (I think) for occasional use.

If you need to search for strings like #foo frequently, I'd suggest creating a mapping like nnoremap <lhs> /\<^R^A\><CR> where <lhs> is the key you want to use and ^R^A is produced by pressing the sequence Ctrl-VCtrl-RCtrl-VCtrl-A.

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