Here is a problem I am able to solve in Sublime in seconds but has me stumped in Vim:

Given text like this:

[email protected] Bob Potato
[email protected] Peter Carrot
[email protected] Thomas Cucumber

I would like to delete either all the names in one go, and then the email addresses, or all the email addresses and then the names.

I'm hoping there is a way that doesn't require 10th Dan Regex skills?

  • Just wondering: is there a reason you need to delete them in a specific order?
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Apr 18, 2020 at 13:01
  • 1
    @D.BenKnoble no, like I said either order. Or do you mean why in one lot, and then another? If the latter, it's so I can paste them into the correct columns of a spreadsheet. :)
    – Ben Frain
    Apr 18, 2020 at 13:40

3 Answers 3


To delete all emails first:

vip:norm! dW

  • vip select paragraph
  • :norm! dW execute normal mode commands: delete WORD

Then you end up having only names -- delete them as usual I guess?

To delete all names first:

vip:norm! WD

  • vip select paragraph
  • :norm! WD execute normal mode commands: move cursor 1 WORD and delete to the end of line.
  • With no visual mode: :%norm WD and :%norm dt x Apr 17, 2020 at 21:47

1st Dan needed to delete the names. The delimiter is the first space. So delete everything from the first space to end of line:

s/ .*$//

To delete the emails, a 2nd Dan is needed. Delete any non-space and the first space from the beginning of the line:

s/^[^ ]* //

Note: This answer assumes, that the delimiter is a single space character. If the delimiter between the email and the name is a <tab> or multiple spaces or any combination of it, we have to move to the 3rd Dan:


This deletes from the first whitespace (be it a space or a tab) till the end of line.


This deletes from the beginning of the line (^) all non-whitespace characters (\S*) including the following one or more whitespaces (\s\+).

See :help /\s, :help /^ and :help /\+.

Now ranges:

The simplest case is if you want to act on the entire file, just use % like:

:%s/ .*$//

If it is only a part of the file, the easiest way is to visually select the lines and then hit : and enter one of the substitution commands from above.

  • Had me laughing with the regex belts :)
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Apr 18, 2020 at 13:00

The easiest way to do that would be to use a macro.

Given you are on the 1st line 1st col:

" To delete the emails:

" To delete the names:

Though I would admit that it's far from being as intuitive as Sublime or VScode with the multi cursors.

Or, as you mentioned, we can use holy regex:

" To delete the emails:

" To delete the names:

Or, you could use the norm command:

" To delete the emails:

" To delete the names:

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