I am going to be pasting a lot of characters into a file. Each time I paste something, the pasted element will need to be wrapped in quotes and followed by a comma. Is there a way to automatically wrap these characters after each paste in vim? The paste will be coming from the system clipboard, not a vim paste buffer.

For example, say the system clipboard contains a, when pasting this into vim using a middle-click, I would like it to insert "a",.

3 Answers 3


Do you need to use the mouse (middle-klick)? I'd go for a macro:

  1. Press qq to start recording
  2. Press i"Esc"*p`]a",Esc to first insert the first set of quote, then paste from the system clipboard, go to the end of the paste and append quote and comma
  3. Press q to stop recording

Then, each time you want to paste that way, simply hit @q.

Note: If you're on X, you might need to use "+ instead of "*, dpending on which clipboard you really want to use. See :h x11-selection.

Note2: This pastes before your cursor. Change the first i to a to paste after your cursor.

  • 1
    When using the same macro often (without using other macros inbetween), it's very convenient to use @@ from the 2nd time on.
    – Tobias
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 23:50

Assuming your vim includes clipboard support (:version shows +clipboard) and you intend to do this in more than one editing session, I would recommend creating a mapping that does this for you:

nnoremap <F5> i"",<Esc>h"+P

<F5>: what you'll hit to trigger the mapping. Could be any combination of keys.

i"",<Esc>: "", and escape insert mode.

h: move the cursor left 1 character.

"+P: paste from the system clipboard before the current character. If pasting via middle-click, you'd want "*P instead

This is currently formulated to work when in normal mode, but could work in insert mode by removing the leading i (and perhaps adding one at the end)


My UnconditionalPaste plugin provides a g,"p mapping that pastes each line in the register (prepend "+ for the system clipboard, as usual) surrounded by double quotes and delimited by commas, all in one line. This is just one particular variant from a plethora of similar mappings; some even query for the separator.

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