I have a small question: let's suppose I'm at the beginning of line 10 and I search a term with the command /term_to_search and then I press <Enter> to start navigating search results with n or N. Then I want to go back to the location I were before starting the search (the beginning of line 10). How can I do? I know that the commands CTRL+O and CTRL+I jump back and forth the list of jumps, but how can I do it in just one keypress? Do I need to define a new special mark to do that (if so, how)?

Thanks in advance.

4 Answers 4


I do this by first creating a mark - for example, create a mark named "a" with ma in command mode – then search or move around the file however you want. Then go back to your mark with 'a.


Two options I can think of off the top of my head:

  1. :[v]split, then search in only one window
  2. :nnoremap / mz/; then `z should take you back. Only works for one search at a time (i.e. new searches overwrite the mark)

let's suppose I'm at the beginning of line 10

Then the easiest way back is 10G or :10. It's not that useless if you have line numbers on and your memory is not bad either.

Also, sometimes the command g; (go back one position in the change list) proves to be be useful.


If, contrary to my initial thinking, OP just wants a way to do what they describe manually (and the voting so far suggests that's most people are reading it that way) then this is overkill. But if one wants a transparent, automated method that allows return to search start any time w/o having to think about it ahead of time....this should help...

If we want to get a little fancier (though still down and dirty) we can create an autocommand and a mapping like so...

augroup searchorigin
  au CmdLineLeave * let b:cmdtype = expand('<afile>') | if (b:cmdtype == '/' || b:cmdtype == '?') | let b:searchorigin = getpos(".") | endif
augroup END

nnoremap <leader>/ :exec 'call setpos(".", b:searchorigin)'<CR>

The autocommand will record the starting point of your current search in a buffer-local variable, allowing this to work simultaneously on different searches occurring in different buffers. The mapping will move the cursor back to that point using that variable.

So just start a search as you always do and then hit \/ and you'll be back to the start point. (Replace <leader>/ in the mapping with whatever free key(s) you desire.)

  • Registers != marks, and marks are buffer local for the lowercase.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 12:39
  • @D.BenKnoble Umm. Okay. Who said otherwise?
    – B Layer
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 11:39
  • read your last points as counterarguments to the mark answer. I guess you know what they say when you assume 😅
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 12:41
  • My first (ill advised) inclination was to store getpos() result in a register...that's the origin of that bullet point (which is kind of superfluous in retrospect).
    – B Layer
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 18:24

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