I found a whole bunch of green ^\ characters in the file I have open in vim...

Any idea what control character they are?

And how would I search for them in grep?

2 Answers 2


If it is indeed a single character, it’s likely to be <C-\>. You can use ga to get the ascii, octal, etc., versions.

For grep(1), most shells (my bash, at least) will let you input literals with <C-v> much like vim.


File Separator, code point 28, or 0x1C, originally used to delimit data structures.

If you cannot type it with Ctrl+\, you can use alt codes if you have a number pad on your keyboard. Type Alt+28 and you should get something that looks like this: ∟ You must use your number pad, the keys above the letter keys will not work. If your keyboard doesn't have a number pad, you can copy-paste the character from here:

  • When was it used to delimit data structures? And where?
    – leeand00
    Aug 29, 2019 at 19:45
  • @leand00 I got this from an ASCII table on wikipedia. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Ben
    Aug 30, 2019 at 13:30
  • Alt+28 doesn't do anything except select the menus at the top when I try it, what kind of window are you typing in?
    – leeand00
    Aug 30, 2019 at 13:46
  • @leand00 That's probably related to Alt-Keys, they're common for disabled users and they're in a lot of programs. If you're on windows, I know that Notepad has no Alt-Key for 28, if you're on Linux or Mac, try opening your browser and going to something like google docs (or this comment thread), because browsers rarely have Alt-Keys to prevent from interfering with webpage Access-Keys (an almost unused technology, but uninterfered with anyways) If that lets you type it in, you can probably copy-paste from there.
    – Ben
    Aug 30, 2019 at 15:17
  • yes I’m on Windows
    – leeand00
    Aug 30, 2019 at 15:26

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