In writing some Vimscript to try to answer this question, I was exploring ways to "search for a line with pattern P in position X" (P is a search pattern, X is a number).

One way to do this would be to search for (e.g.) ^.....[a-z], where [a-z] is the pattern, and 5 is the position.

But how would I use Vimscript to make ....., from . and 5?

2 Answers 2


Simply use regex syntax for "repeat n times":


This searches for 5 .s and then an [a-z].

If you just want to repeat a character c n times, simply do:

let dots = repeat('.', 5)
" dots is now '.....'
  • That'll work for my example, but I was hoping for a more general answer which could be used in other kinds of string building
    – jalanb
    Feb 3, 2015 at 23:37
  • @jalanb You could use repeat; see my edit.
    – Doorknob
    Feb 3, 2015 at 23:52

Vim also has this nice feature /\%5c[a-z] which matches [a-z] only in column 5. You can read about it in more detail in :h \%c. There is also \%v which is to be used for virtual column which is relevant in case of a lot of wrapped lines and it will match the virtual column even for the wrapped lines.

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