I have a text that looks like this

" original
  call minpac#add('morhetz / gruvbox')

" desired
  call minpac#add('morhetz/gruvbox')

How can I limit vim pattern search within parentheses?

I tried '<,'>s/ //g in visual selection mode, but the problem is it also removes the indentation at the start as a sideffect. I am looking for a pattern search variation which would only work inside the parenthesis.

I am looking for something in lines of '<,'>s/ //gc where I can tell vim its n for first match and y for all others? I am not even sure if something like this is even possible in vim.

  • What about a line like this X Y (WWW 22(X Y [A 90] )) #? Can there be unmatched parenthesis? What about parenthesis inside quotes, should they be considered? Pairs of parenthesis that span multiple lines? Please always think of edge cases.
    – Quasímodo
    Oct 21 '20 at 14:56

If you desired output is:

" desired
  call minpac#add('morhetz/gruvbox')

And you are not against doing it a bit interactively...

  1. put your cursor on the line before or inside 'morhets / gruvbox' and do vi' to select everything inside a string.
  2. run the command :s/\%V\s\+//g (it should look like :'<,'>s/\%V\s\+//g) on a command line

:help \%V -- match inside visual area.

Or, alternatively, you can limit your regex with a column:


:h \%>c -- match after a specific column.

  • Note: \s after \V% means ` ` (SPACE) for vim, so :'<,'>s/\%V\s\+//g is same as :'<,'>s/\%V \+//g, And \+ seems not necessary at all in this case, Tested Vim 8.2, NVim 4.4
    – Mamrezo
    Oct 22 '20 at 19:38
  • Not really. Check help for \s
    – Maxim Kim
    Oct 23 '20 at 6:05
  • yes it removes TABs to
    – Mamrezo
    Oct 23 '20 at 23:33

You can process in two times with mixing :substitute with substitute(), thanks to \=

:%s/(\zs.*\ze)/\=substitute(submatch(0), ' ', '', 'g')/

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