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\%V can be used to restrict match within the visual selection. However, I can't think of a situation when one would not want to do just that in visual mode.

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2 Answers 2

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  1. As all Ex-commands :s is linewise.

  2. While executing :s you're in Normal mode.

  3. If %\V is there then the command is restricted to the Visual mode used last time.

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    When in visual mode, pressing : puts :'<,'> into the command line, so I don't get point 2. I'm with Tejasvi88: It would be nice if it did :<,> instead.
    – Quasímodo
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 11:41
  • @Quasímodo 1. After pressing enter in cmdline-mode you get into Normal mode, see :h mode-switching. 2. It actually honours line range, but it's linewise, see (1).
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 12:15
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Probably because it can be achieved easily using a keymap.

xnoremap <expr> :s mode()==#'V' ? ':s' : ':s/\%V\%V/<Left><Left><Left><Left>

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