I have a shell script on a line alone in a file which I would like to be able to easily execute from vim. Normally I could simply use Y:!^R", but this particular script has % in it, which is expanded to the current filename.

  • Y:exe '!'.@" still treats % as a filename
  • Y:!=getreg('"')` is passed literally

Ideally whatever solution would be trivial to type, like Y:!^R". My current workaround is to run Y:!^R" and then manually insert a \ before each %, but this is work the computer should be responsible for.

The command I'm wanting to run is: expr (expr (date --utc +%s) / 86400 - 7) % 15 + 1 in fish; in bash that would be expr $(expr $(date --utc +%s) / 86400 - 7) % 15 + 1.

Is there an easy way to escape special characters in an ex shell command, or treat what is typed strictly literally? I'm sure vim has this covered, but I've searched a while and don't know how to find it.

2 Answers 2


One way to do this is to use fnameescape:


But it may not be perfect if the command has spaces. You could also try split(@")->map('fnameescape(v:val)')->join(' ') in the expression, or some combination of shellescape()/escape(…, '%#'), etc.

  • Ironically, Y:!<C-r>=fnameescape(@")<CR> escapes all the spaces, but does not escape the %s. Your second example w/split/map/join does work.
    – Iiridayn
    Jun 16, 2021 at 22:38

Possible answer derived from https://vi.stackexchange.com/a/10211/8846 - doesn't function in quite the same way, but :.w !fish does send the text to a new shell literally and returns the correct answer.

It also makes it easier to write short python or other language programs instead of shell script, which would be an advantage.

  • It seems you always find something just after you give up looking.
    – Iiridayn
    Jun 15, 2021 at 20:22

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