Recently I learned from Practical Vim a way to copy or move block of lines without having to move the cursor from the current position. This is done in command line mode. e.g.

:123,133m.  # moves lines from 123 to 133 below the cursor position.

While I like it, it is a pain to type the long line numbers, especially when the file has too many lines.

At times, the lines to move are relatively near the cursor (but I don't want to move my cursor, yank, come back where I was, paste!). It would be great if I could use relative numbers, similar to how we do in normal mode. It is like saying

move 5 lines which are 10 lines above the current line to here

In short, how to use relative numbers in command line mode (similar to normal mode)?

3 Answers 3


Assuming your lines span from 15 to 10 lines above the current one, you can achieve what you requested using relative line numbers:


Unfortunately when specifying a backwards range, Vim asks you to confirm if that is what you really wanted. To avoid the confirmation step, you can type silent before your command, or just specify a forwards range:


As you might expect + can be used to refer to lines below the current one.

Detailed help can be found with:

:help cmdline-ranges
  • 1
    But I have never once used this feature. I do 15k d5j 10j P. Oct 30, 2015 at 9:24
  • The difference is that 15k,5j works in command mode, and the one explained in the answer is in insert mode. So based on mode we can choose the appropriate one. The commands in insert mode are generally the selection criteria for running other commands. Aug 25, 2019 at 2:33

You can use hard numbers in your range:


Or relative numbers:


Or manual marks:


Or automatic marks:


Or searches:


Or line shortcuts:


Or any combination of the tricks above:


You can use relative addressing (e.g. .-10,.+3) with any Ex command, cp. :help :range.

Alternatively, have a look at my LineJuggler plugin; it provides several short mappings to move lines around or duplicate them, and all those mappings take a relative line offset as [count].

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