Opening all 49 files in my working folder in separate buffers, I wanted to see if there were any em dashes.

I typed :bufdo /— and vim immediately went to work, processing a page of buffers at a time. All but one file appeared to not contain my string. The thing is, I wasn’t able to check. Everything just wizzed by and I just happened to see that there was one file that wasn’t marked as “Pattern not found”. What I was expecting was for it to stop at the first occurrence and then let me use n and N to scroll through the search findings.

My question is, is there a way to search through multiple buffers (without replacing) in a way that behaves similarly to searching in a single buffer?

1 Answer 1

  1. bufdo runs a command (here, the ex command :/), so there's no real interactivity
  2. For a search over multiple files (or buffers), use :grep/:vimgrep. For example:
:grep -R pat .
" or
:vimgrep /pat/ **/*
" or whatever you need

Then you navigate with the quickfix list (:help quickfix). Probably :cnext/:cprevious are useful, or :cwindow if you want to browse the list of matches.

  • vimgrep worked. Is there a way of specifying a range in each file similar to :10,$? (I have a yaml header and need to search for stray hyphens in the text while avoiding the six hyphens in the yaml section.) Mar 24, 2021 at 18:18
  • 1
    @BrianWilson :help /\%>l (the last character is a lowercase L)
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Mar 24, 2021 at 19:02
  • 1
    Thank you! For those following along at home the full command was :vimgrep /\%>10l-/ *.txt Mar 24, 2021 at 20:01

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