How can I move the cursor to the nth byte in the buffer?

How can I display the current cursor position in the ruler in terms of the byte offset, rather than lines and columns? (Follow-up question: can it be displayed in both decimal and hexadecimal?)

  • Note that byte offset n and nth byte aren't the same thing. Byte 1 is at offset 0, byte 78 is at offset 77, etc.
    – jl6
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 14:23

3 Answers 3

:goto 2356

jumps to the 2356th byte in the buffer.

Use the %o field in 'statusline' or 'rulerformat' to display the byte number of the character under your cursor.

Use %O to display the value in hexadecimal format.


:help :goto
:help 'statusline'
:help 'rulerformat'
  • I found this only worked when opening the file in binary mode: vi -b <filename>
    – jl6
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 14:23

You can hit g Ctrl+g and you get the full information about the position:

Col 13 of 35; Line 18 of 2272; Word 70 of 7767; Char 410 of 50021; Byte 410 of 50118

To display the byte position you can use the following command

:echo line2byte(line("."))+col(".")-1

See Question: Get offset of current buffer in vim

  • 1
    Probably, Vivian De Smedt forgot one ) in the end of line. Let me guess that he meant :echo(eval(line2byte(line("."))+col(".")-1)) Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 8:55
  • 3
    I would rather recommend to use :echo eval(line2byte(line("."))+col(".")-1) (e.g. remove the very first parenthesis) Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 9:16
  • 2
    @SamCenzored I've converted your answer to a comment, for now, since it seemed like you were clarifying a post (see vi.stackexchange.com/help/privileges/comment). Welcome to Vi and Vim!
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 17:38

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