Suppose a classic csv like this (each number represents an alphanumeric sequence) :


I was trying to move the 6th column of each line to the beginning of the line using a simple and elegant one liner.

Is there a way to achieve this using something like :

g/,/norm 5n<?>d0P

I don't know what to put in place of <?> to select the word right after the 5th comma


1 Answer 1


You can try it with :normal! command alone:

:%normal! 05f,dF,0Pm`0x``P

Which executes normal commands for all lines (%) one by one:

  • 0 to go to beginning of the line
  • 5f, to go to 5th comma
  • dF, to cut back till comma
  • 0 to the beginning
  • P to Paste before current char
  • m` to mark end of pasted text
  • 0 to go to beginning of the line where now there is a comma
  • x to cut a comma
  • `` to go to the end of the pasted text we marked earlier
  • P to paste a comma

Note, it wouldn't work for a well formed csv with "fields that have, commas".

There are probably better ways to do it too :)

PS, you can replicate normal command just typing it on the csv line 05f,dF,0Pm`0x``P

PPS, tested with:

1,2,3,4,5sdf skljsf,6,7
1,2,3,4,5 sdkj lskdj ,6,7
1,2,3,4,5 aksldjfl sjdf ,6,7


5sdf skljsf,1,2,3,4,6,7
5 sdkj lskdj ,1,2,3,4,6,7
5 aksldjfl sjdf ,1,2,3,4,6,7
  • Thank you ! i didn't know about the "normal!" syntax nor the mark command, it makes total sens, this is awesome
    – Segfault
    Nov 5, 2020 at 13:38
  • Another way you can apply this to multiple lines is to record the command in a macro that ends with j or j0 and then execute the macro N times. The :% in Maxim Kim's answer applies the normal command to all lines, but in some cases you may not want all lines.
    – nullromo
    Nov 5, 2020 at 18:53
  • 1
    @nullromo, if you don't need all lines, visually select whatever you want and do the same normal command. Or do :g/pattern/normal .... But yes, macro is another option.
    – Maxim Kim
    Nov 5, 2020 at 20:44

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