This is relativenumber. It shows the line numbers, relative to your cursor:

1 one line before your cursor
0 your cursor is here
1 first line after
2 second line
3 third line
4 and so on

It's super useful for quickly editing a number of lines. But is it possible to have the same thing, except for characters in a line? Something like this:

8    3  0 2      10   16    22 25  X  X        X  X     X      X       X       X      X
This is a pretty long line. It can be annoying to edit. EspeciallyIfThere'sALotOfTextAtOnce
 your cursor is here  

You can see that each word or longer string of characters has a relative character count number on top of it (I stopped using numbers and started using X's eventually, but you get the point).

So let's say I want to edit the string It can be annoying to It is annoying. I could do 25k to go to the word I want to edit, type 2cw to change two words and replace them with the string "is".


  • The numbers need to be spaced out because having them too close to each other would be confusing
  • Using characters instead of numbers (e.g X and Y instead of 100 and 105) might be a good idea

Is there any existing solution out there for accomplishing this? I'd like to give it a try.

Edit: An even better idea might be to display word numbers instead of character numbers. Like this:

2    1  0 1      2    3     4  5   6  7        8  9          
This is a pretty long line. It can be annoying to edit. 
 your cursor is here  

If the number 5 is on top of the "can", then I can just type 5w to go to the word "can".

  • 1
    I've never seen anything that numbers columns but there are a number of plugins that make it easy to navigate to various places on a line (or page) using "hints" (e.g. 1-3 letter tags). easymotion is probably the most popular of these.
    – B Layer
    Sep 14, 2021 at 12:34
  • 2
    BTW, in native Vim you could just do fc to get to can. Or 2fl to get to line. And so on. Combined with ; and , to go forward/backward by one occurrence and you can move about pretty adeptly.
    – B Layer
    Sep 14, 2021 at 12:43
  • Yes, I'm aware, but that's not reliable. If there's a "c" character somewhere in between there, then you will go to the first "c" you encounter, not the one you want to go to. Though, I didn't know about ; and ,, so maybe I should give it another shot (though I would still prefer being able to get to where I want to go with one command, and not have to pay attention to whether I've gone too far or not). I've been typing /can, but I'm looking for something faster, where I don't have to worry about escaping regex Sep 14, 2021 at 12:45
  • 1
    Yeah, I'd never use /can but I use f, F, t, T, ;, , (along with the other basics like w and b) pretty adroitly after some practice...to the point that I don't feel the need for something like what you describe or EasyMotion.
    – B Layer
    Sep 14, 2021 at 12:50
  • 1
    Personally I’ve come to believe that searching for target fragments is the fastest way to get places.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Sep 14, 2021 at 17:31

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