To clear a file I find myself doing something like:

  • 1G
  • 1000cc (or some large number)

Is there a simpler way to do this for clearing a file? On a normal text editor I normally would do Cmd-A and then start typing.


2 Answers 2



gg: Move to the first line in the file

d: Delete

G: [until] last line in file

From help:

G           Goto line [count], default last line, on the first
            non-blank character linewise.  If 'startofline' not
            set, keep the same column.
            G is one of the jump-motions.
gg          Goto line [count], default first line, on the first
            non-blank character |linewise|.  If 'startofline' not
            set, keep the same column.

Substitute d with c if you want to be in insert mode instantly.

  • thanks for this. Is there a way to do this without copying the text into the buffer (I have stuff in the buffer I'd like to 'keep')
    – David542
    Apr 23, 2020 at 19:19
  • @David542 What do you mean? How can you clear all contents of a file and keep some of the stuff in your buffer? Also, what do you mean by "copying the text into the buffer"?
    – filbranden
    Apr 24, 2020 at 4:14
  • 2
    Ah I think you mean the register! The default register, right? So that if later you paste with p or P it will put the previously yanked text... Well, for that, use gg"_dG, which deletes it into the black hole register.
    – filbranden
    Apr 24, 2020 at 4:17
  • 1
    @filbranden yes exactly, thanks for the tip! And thanks again for all your helpful feedback/answers/etc on my questions.
    – David542
    Apr 24, 2020 at 4:18

Fastest is


Which can be abbreviated to


The % is a range standing for “whole file.”

If you want to use a particular register (e.g., black hole):


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