In Vim, I can use gx in normal mode to open the URL under the cursor. Instead of opening the URL, how can I copy the URL?

I am looking for something faster than entering into visual mode, selecting the URL, and yanking the selected URL.


1 Answer 1


You should be able to use the same mechanism that can capture file paths, <cfile>:

<cfile>    is replaced with the path name under the cursor (like what |gf| uses)

This special keyword can be resolved to its associated value on the command line using the function expand(). For example, to put the URL in a register:

:let @0 = expand('<cfile>')

If you want to put the URL in the clipboard use "* or "+ register (depending on your system and its configuration).

Add it to a mapping...

:nnoremap <leader>u :let @* = expand('<cfile>')<CR>

...and with a couple key presses you can now paste the URL wherever you need it.

Update: A couple Q&As excerpted from the comments that may be useful to others...

Q: When I press p in normal mode to paste the URL, why is nothing pasted?

A: The type of environment (OS, window manager, GUI vs terminal) you're in usually dictates which register is tied to the system clipboard. If paste/put is working for you otherwise look at the register being used there and use the same in the mapping. If you're using *nix the "quote-plus" register (@+) may be what you need. (ed- It was.) For more details on clipboard use :h 'clipboard' is a good place in Vim help to start.

Q: How can I prevent the mapped command from appearing in the status bar? :nnoremap <leader>u :silent let@* ... doesn't work.

A: Instead of using :silent add <silent> after nnoremap.

:nnoremap <silent> <leader>u :let @* = expand('<cfile>')<CR>

<silent> is simply used to prevent a mapped command from being displayed when the mapped keys are entered. If the mapped command also has output that you don't want to see you'll need :silent in addition to <silent>.

  • Is there a way to make this silent? I tried nnoremap <leader>u :silent let @* = expand('<cfile>')<CR> in my vimrc, but it doesn't seem to make the keybinding silent.
    – Flux
    Oct 19, 2020 at 12:17
  • I tried your solution, but when I press p in normal mode to paste the URL, nothing is pasted.
    – Flux
    Oct 19, 2020 at 12:20
  • Okay. Thank you. It works now. I was actually looking for one solution for pasting into Vim and another for pasting outside it. I should have mentioned that in my question. Anyway, nnoremap <silent> <leader>u :let @+ = expand('<cfile>')<CR> works perfectly for pasting outside Vim. For pasting inside Vim, I replaced the @+ with @". I am using terminal Vim on Ubuntu.
    – Flux
    Oct 20, 2020 at 7:46

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