Is there some way to repeat something like cit and be left in insert mode instead of automatically repeating the previously entered text?

For example, suppose I have the following lines:


I'd like to individually replace the text inside the last three tags so I end up with:


If I start by going to the second line and type cittwo<esc>, it'll replace "one" with "two". If I then go to the next line and press ., it'll repeat the last command and again replace the "one" with "two". Instead, I was hoping for a way to just delete the contents of the tag and be left in insert mode so I can type whatever I needed.

I know I could make a macro that does this, but for some reason I feel like there is a more basic way of doing it that is currently escaping me.

1 Answer 1


There isn't really a native command to repeat a change without including the inserted text as part of the repeat.

You mentioned using a macro, but recording it (using the q command) can be tricky, since you want to end it inside insert mode. It turns out you can actually do that using qacit<C-O>q to record only cit in @a, which you can use to repeatedly call it. You can also use an assignment directly to create the macro.

:let @a = 'cit'

Not sure if the macro really gets you anything, since you're still typing two characters @a instead of three cit. Granted, after the first usage, you can simply hit the same key twice @@, but that's not a huge win...

Perhaps creating a mapping temporarily would be better:

:nnoremap , cit

Or you can even map . so it "feels" like you're repeating a command 😁

Once you're done, remove it with :nunmap , (or ., or whatever you decide to use.)

One advantage of using a mapping (or a macro) is that you can incorporate the search for the next location to replace, whether you simply use a n command or if you use a text object more aware of HTML tags to find the location. In that case, you'll be gaining more than a couple keystrokes by defining a macro or mapping.

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