I want to achieve the same thing as S ESC without entering insert mode. Is there a way to do this?

The best I've come up with is d$, but then you have to make sure you're at the front of a line which makes it ^ d$.

Visually, with cursor as |; before:

Beautiful sentence that I wa|nt to destroy.


  • What about dd?
    – DDS
    Mar 25, 2022 at 14:16
  • 1
    @DDS: That deletes the line, OP wants the line to remain but empty.
    – Ben Voigt
    Mar 25, 2022 at 15:34
  • 1
    Just curious: is there any problem with entering insert mode? Is it slower? Is it even noticeable? Mar 28, 2022 at 15:46

4 Answers 4


To save one keystroke, instead of ^d$, do ^D

Also faster because you keep the Shift key down for both ^ and D

  • 2
    cc<esc> in another way to do it (or S<esc>).
    – Biggybi
    Mar 25, 2022 at 7:40
  • "Also faster because you keep the Shift key down for both ^ and D". On Qwerty keyboards. On mine, I have to press ^ twice (without Shift) in order to get ^. So it would be ^^+Shift-D. cc<esc> is indeed faster. Mar 25, 2022 at 11:58
  • 1
    @Biggybi S<esc> was specifically called out in the question as undesired because OP doesn't want to enter insert mode. The same thing would apply to cc<esc>.
    – 8bittree
    Mar 25, 2022 at 15:56
  • @8bittree indeed you're right (that's why I only bring it in a comment, not an answer).
    – Biggybi
    Mar 26, 2022 at 0:57
  • 1
    @EricDuminil Probably better to ask young_souvlaki. All I can think of is maybe to avoid triggering an autocommand. Or to avoid having to reach for the <esc> key.
    – 8bittree
    Mar 28, 2022 at 15:45

Another approach is to set a :h omap for a line.

For example :

onoremap il :<c-u>normal! $v0<cr>

Then you can use dil to delete inside line. Of course, yil would yank the line, and so on.


As far as I know there is no blanking line command. I imagine you would need to make your own mapping

nnoremap gS :<c-u>call setline('.', '')<cr>

I am not sure how useful that would be


Well, to add to all the answers:

  1. :pu_|-d<CR> which you can map to, for instance, :nnoremap dr :<C-u>pu_|-d<CR>
  2. create a text object "a line" and delete a line with dil or dal (and this could be a fancy one to operate on screenlines for example)
" line text object
func ObjLine(inner)
    if a:inner
        " for non-wrapped line following works:
        " normal! g_v^
        " but I want to handle wrapped
        normal! g$
        search('\S', 'cb')
        normal! vg^
        normal! $v0
xnoremap <silent> il :<C-u>call ObjLine(1)<CR>
onoremap <silent> il :<C-u>normal vil<CR>
xnoremap <silent> al :<C-u>call ObjLine(0)<CR>
onoremap <silent> al :<C-u>normal val<CR>

enter image description here

  • 1
    Distinguishing il and al for leading spaces is quite smart!
    – Biggybi
    Mar 27, 2022 at 6:30
  • 1
    @Biggybi not only leading, trailing too.
    – Maxim Kim
    Mar 30, 2022 at 8:50
  • Indeed -- good thing you point this imprecision.
    – Biggybi
    Mar 30, 2022 at 9:55

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