Autocomplete in insert mode (via <c-n>/<c-p>) is excellent, in particular the navigable popup box.

I would like the same navigable popup box when I search: so, I type /, then start to type, press something, see a list of selectable matches, select one and jump to that location.

Is this possible without a plugin?

  • 2
    Hi and welcome! This is not the intended usage of the completion list and would probably quite tricky to implement. However, fzf provides a :Lines command which makes it easy to jump to lines matching your search (fuzzy). That's the closer I can think of.
    – Biggybi
    Feb 12, 2021 at 9:49

2 Answers 2


Usually you're supposed to do "incremental search" instead. It works like follows: you do :set incsearch and then Vim starts moving the cursor while you're typing /pattern without awaiting for "enter" hit.

If you really need to browse through previous search patterns, you can make use of :h cmdwin. Just press Ctrl-F (or whatever is the value of :set cedit?), or even open search prompt with q/ instead of /. The you'll get into :h cmdwin where you can browse all your previous search patterns. Note that it's a "window" not "menu", so you can search through searches with "/" or "?" as needed.

  • 1
    Thanks. The cmdwin may be useful. incsearch isn't great for my case, because i want to quickly see a list of possibilities--like an overview--then choose, rather than search those all the searches until I find the one I want.
    – mmm111mmm
    Feb 13, 2021 at 7:34
  • For all "list of possibilities" maybe use :g/ instead of /?
    – gildux
    Feb 1 at 23:55

This doesn't answer my question, but I thought it may enlighten others.

The reasons I wanted this fast-search-with-autocomplete-box was to quickly and repeatedly switch between and edit parts of a file.

I subsequently learnt to use window splits. I now quickly and repeatedly edit different parts of a file using window splits; edit one part, ctrl w w, edit the other, repeat.

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