If I'm using replace mode, but I want to keep one or a few characters in a row of the text I am replacing, is there an easy way to skip forward rather than retyping the characters or exiting replace mode and moving and re-entering replace mode?

For example, let's say I'm editing the following text:

Tue Jun 11 20:08:07

And I want to change it to:

Wed Jun 12 20:08:07

I can do this by typing RWed Jun 12<Esc> but that seems unwieldy. I can do it as two separate edits, but I run into this use case often and it seems to me there may be a Vim feature just for this task.

Since I recently learned about :help i_ctrl-y, a feature which blew my mind, I thought it worth asking. Ideally the feature I'm hoping for would allow for repeating the entire replace action with the . key, including preserving the characters in the middle (whatever they might be).

2 Answers 2


You want to skip Jun , so you must find a way to move cursor to 11.

You want to use dot repeat, so <c-o> is not an option, as it always splits undo.

That leave you only the arrow keys. To stop it from breaking undo, custom map is necessary:

inoremap <Left>  <C-G>U<Left>
inoremap <Right> <C-G>U<Right>
inoremap <C-Left>  <C-G>U<C-Left>
inoremap <C-Right> <C-G>U<C-Right>

The replace keystrokes are: RWedc-rightc-rightright2, it's dot repeatable.

:h i_CTRL-G_U stopped next cursor movement from breaking undo. Read after the linked doc if you want to know how to achieve the same behavior for <home> and <end>.

Personally i prefer multiple edits and macro repeat.


You can bind some keys in insert mode to move to the next word like vim-rsi plugin does making vim readline binding aware or use built-in arrow keys. This would be dot repeatable.

Or you can RWed<C-o>/11<CR>12 to replace Tue to Wed, goto normal mode for a single command, search for 11 and continue replacing 11 to 12.

For your example though I would just go for cwWed<ESC><C-a> -- change word Tue to Wed and increase next number by 1. But that is not dot repeatable.

  • Or RWed<C-o>/11/e<CR>2. As dedowsdi mentions, this has probelms with .
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Jul 12, 2019 at 16:35

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