For example, if I want to find all bar lines and print them.

$ cat file
line foo
line bar 1
line bar 2
$ cat cmd
norm gg
norm n
$ cat cmd | vim -u NONE -es file
line bar 1
line bar 1

As it outputs, normal n does not move to line bar 2.

  • Using normal nn does work for me, but I'm not entirely sure why 🤔 Feb 8, 2021 at 10:22

2 Answers 2


normal n works for me in Ex mode.

The problem is that you mix normal mode /search with ex-mode range :/search. In your case :/search is executed and it doesn't populate @/ register thus with :normal n you try to search something else (previous interactive search?)


i want to find all bar lines and print them



for line in getline(1, '$')
    if line =~ 'bar'
        echo line

or to mimic what you have in your question:

norm! gg
let @/ = 'bar'
norm! n
norm! n
  • do you mean i should use norm /bar^M?
    – vim.ggyG
    Feb 8, 2021 at 9:09
  • I don't know what is your end goal, so can't recommend. But there is call search(), or let @/ = "searchthing" or smth else idk.
    – Maxim Kim
    Feb 8, 2021 at 10:15
  • updated the question. i want to find all bar lines and print them.
    – vim.ggyG
    Feb 8, 2021 at 10:34

Figured out what's happening.

Here /bar actually means :/bar which is a range spec meaning "go to next line which has bar in it". It's just like :1 which goes to line #1.

And :/bar works in a line-wise way. It goes to the the line and put cursor at column #1. So the next norm n would move cursor to bar 1, and another norm n would move to bar 2.

And p has a side effect. It also moves cursor to column #1.

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