I'm facing a behavior that I find unatural when trying to paste a block of text selected with visual block mode (<C-v>): I can't insert it between two lines without messing with the already existing line.

Here's an example:

If I have this file


This is a text
on several lines
and this is another line

Let's say I want to put the first letters of each of the 4 first lines between the 2 others lines of text.

  • First I'll select the 4 letters: <C-v> 3j y
  • Then I put my cursor on the o of the last line
  • Finally I put my letters before my cursor with P

The result I get is:

This is a text
aon several lines
dand this is another line

Where as what I expected was

this is a text 
on several lines
and this is another line

So it means that each time I want to past a block this way I have to insert the corresponding number of empty lines before I past which is pretty unatural in my opinion.

I found a vim tip suggesting to use 1vp to select a corresponding number of lines before pasting but that allows a replacement not an insertion of the block.

So my question is: What is the good way to insert a visually selecting block between two existing lines?

Also I once saw a plugin (which I can't remember the name) which "improved" visual block mode, but I'd like not to add a plugin just to enable this behavior.


That plugin you're referring to might be my UnconditionalPaste plugin, which provides (among many related other commands) the exact glp (force linewise paste) command you're looking for here.

As its author, I surely think the plugin provides very helpful functionality that warrants installing it, but you can achieve the same via a simple built-in command. After yanking, execute:

:call setreg('', '', 'ac')

Then paste with P. This changes the type of the default register from blockwise to characterwise. (As there's no setregtype() function, it does this by appending (a) nothing ('') to the register.)

The setreg() approach also works for other such conversions (e.g. characterwise to linewise with 'al' parameter.)

For your particular example, there's an even shorter (but less general) way:


will always paste in new lines.

  • Thanks a lot for your tips (I'll also check your plugin)! Your answer leads me to another question (I don't know if I should create a new one or ask it here): let's say I want to map P to call setreg() and then put but only when I made a block selection is there a way to create such a mapping? I can't create it only in visual mode because it is not relevant and create it in normal mode would override P each time which is not what I want neither.
    – statox
    May 18 '15 at 12:00
  • You can use getregtype() to check whether the register contains a blockwise selection. But in my opinion, blockwise paste can be useful, too, so I would recommend a separate mapping. May 18 '15 at 12:31
  • Yes I think you're right. Anyway I checked your plugin and I think I will simply use that it is the most convenient. Thanks again for your answers!
    – statox
    May 18 '15 at 13:38

You can get the behavior you want with: OCtrl+R".

Ctrl+R in Insert mode pastes a register -- in this case, the default " register. Since you're in Insert mode, it ignores the block-ness of the buffer.

  • 1
    Thats is a totally valid way to do it and I didn't know <kbd>Ctrl+R</kbd>. So thats a good answer thank you.
    – statox
    May 20 '15 at 7:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.