What does :s by itself do? I was thinking that it would be equivalent to:


Does it use the equivalent of <C-r>/ or something, or where is it grabbing the pattern from?

  • Why is this, and so many of your other questions, tagges vimrc? What does the :s command have to do with vimrc? – muru Jul 16 '20 at 1:50
  • @muru I. think mostly because I don't know how to tag it / what aspect of vim it is, other than vimscript I suppose. – David542 Jul 16 '20 at 2:45

Per vim's help*, :s by itself,

[Repeats the] last :substitute with same search pattern and substitute string, but without the same flags.

This means vim will perform substitution like this :s/{pat}/{sub}/, where pat is the last substitute pattern, which is not exactly (as the help may imply) the same as the last search pattern stored in @/. To emphasize the part about flags, if you had used global substitute like :s/a/b/g, :s would not be done with global set.

In contrast, s:// means use the last search pattern and replace with empty string.

Note the difference between :s and :~, which actually does use the last search pattern (like with /), which then becomes the last substitute pattern also.

*:help :&

  • 1
    is there a register or something that stores the last {pat} ? Or how do you see what that is? – David542 Jul 16 '20 at 1:29
  • There is: "\ holds the last search pattern. – Wolf Jul 16 '20 at 11:33
  • @Wolf last search pattern and last substitute pattern are different. There is no way to get the last substitute pattern as far as I know. – Mass Jul 16 '20 at 12:24

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