I am very new to vim, and I have a csv file with this format :


every "xxx" is replaced by an increment+1 of numbers at the start of each line. athe result should be like this:


2 Answers 2


You could use a substitution command like this one:


The command can be decomposed in these several parts:

  • % is the range of lines you want to apply the command to. % is all the lines in the buffer, check :h :range for more options
  • s/ [...] / [...] is the substitution which will replace the first part by a second one
  • "\(\d\+\).*:\zs.\+\ze" This is the part used to match the text you want to act on, several things are going on here:
    • " is the first litteral " before the number you want to increment
    • \d\+ is the number you will need to increment
    • the number is surrounded by \( ... \) to tell vim that we should capture this value to reuse it later on
    • .*: are all the characters between the end of your number and the xxx you'll need to replace
    • \zs ... \ze are used to say to vim that the part we actually want to change is between these two markers see :h /\zs and :h /\ze
    • .\+ inside the \zs ... \ze is are all the characters we want to replace (your xxx)
  • \=submatch(1)+1 is the second part of the command: what we will replace our text with
    • \= indicates that we will replace with the result of the evaluated expression following on. See :h sub-replace-expression
    • submatch(1) is used to get the value of the captured string in the first part. :h /\=
    • and finally +1 is used to increment the value
  • 1
    Just want to add that if you want to divide the captured number by some value, you may want to change the substitute delimiter to another character, for example, #, to avoid a clash with division character /.
    – jdhao
    Jan 10, 2020 at 14:21

You can do this with a macro. Start by placing your cursor at the very start of the file gg and then type the following:


This records a macro that will update a single line in the way you require. Then undo your changes uu and play the macro on every line of the file by entering the command:

:%norm @q

How the macro works:

  • qq Start recording a macro into register "q.
  • yi" Yank the contents of the next double-quoted string on the line.
  • 2fx Jump to the second x after the cursor.
  • viw Visually select the word xxx.
  • p Replace the visual selection with the yanked text.
  • Ctrl-A Increment the number.
  • q Stop recording.

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