If I type a URL and I want to extract the parameters from the query string quickly in VIM how would I do that?

For instance if I have:


I want to end up with something close to:

  • 2
    Have you tried anything so far? By showing your attempts and describing what parts you are having difficulty with, we get a better understanding of your proficiency and can give a more precise answer. As it stands, it just looks like you've posted a requirement and want someone to write your code for you. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 18:36

3 Answers 3


What about:

  • df? to delete everything up to & including the first ?
  • :s/&/\r/g to replace every & with a newline

You could prefix this with either ^ to go the start of the line, or B to go to the start of the word; use whatever is appropriate in the scenario. Be careful with automatically adding B in a keybind or command though, because if you're on the first character of the URL it will go to the word before the URL!

This will only work on well-formed URLs, the web would not be the web if there weren't a bunch of malformed URLs floating around ;-) Specifically, URL's which omit the ? and just use &key=value to start the first parameter seem to be common.
To fix this, you could search for either the first ?, OR the first &, which is unfortunately a bit more typing:


The <CR> is the enter key.

If you do this sort of thing often, you could map it to a key:

:nnoremap <Leader>p df?:s/&/\r/g<CR>
:nnoremap <Leader>p d/[?&]<CR>x:s/&/\r/<CR>

Or make a command out of it:

:command! SplitURL exe 'normal df?'|:s/&/\r/g
  • Instead of ^ to go to the beginning of the line, you could use B to go to the beginning of the WORD.
    – aharris88
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 18:09
  • Not all URL all perfectly formed. A LOT don't have the ? character and just use the &. Browser automatically compensate (so you don't notice it much) but there are a significant number out there. So I would replace the df? with d/[?&]<enter>x Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 18:30



It replaces all ? and & ([?&]) with new line (\r) which are followed by a=b patterns ending with &, new line or space characters.


  • \zs and \ze - Is the start and end of a pattern (these can be used independently).
  • [?&] - Match either ? or & character.
  • .\{-} - Non-greedy quantifier which match as few as possible characters.
  • [^&\r[:blank:]] - Match all characters which are NOT &, new line, space and tab characters.
  • 2
    Minor note: You can use \zs and \ze independently. In this case, the \zs can be omitted since it's at the start of the pattern already.
    – tommcdo
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:23

If you're not doing this a lot of times, it's pretty quick to do it manually:

  1. df?: Delete to the start of the parameters,
  2. f&: Jump to the next parameter
  3. rEnter: Replace the & with a newline,
  4. Then just mash ;. repeatedly until you've separated all the parameters. (; jumps forward to the next occurrence of the last f command, and . repeats the last edit operation.)

Depending on how many parameters there are, it won't be many more keypresses that the answers already posted using :substitute, but, for me at least, it requires even less brainpower.

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