Is there a Vim plugin that allows me to save/load registers to/from files with minimal typing, preview of registers, and other amenities?

Long version

Vim has a lot of registers. However, the "only" ones that serve a "storage" purpose are registers a to z. Indeed

  • only the user can edit them and only by explicitly naming them (whereas numbered registers change, or actually shift, automatically),
  • they don't affect and are not affected by the "outside world" (+ and * do affect and are affected by what happens outside of Vim),
  • they have no special behavior (_ is the black hole, " is the last used register, and so on).

Now, for me it's natural to resort to a-z registers when I want to put stuff there that I might reuse several times during a workday. However, the various usages often depends on what I'm doing.

There are times when I'm debugging C++ code, that I often need to efficiently (from they keystroke standapoint) load the same, say, 4 or 5 dynamic libraries everytime I restart the debug session, so it's very useful to have those libraries (or the whole line for gdb -exec shared somelibrary.so) in the registers.

Much less often, but still not only once in a lifetime, there are times when I'm doing some text editing that requires that I run the same few macros I run a month ago.

It would be nice to have registers' contents saved in "databases". For instance, having a file named dynamicLibrariesLoadCmds.txt with content such as

a: -exec shared somelibrary.so
b: -exec shared someotherlibrary.so
q: -exec shared onemorelib.so

and then some command to load all those lines into the appropriate registers.

Is there a plugin that provides such a functionality?

  • It sounds like you actually need a clipboard manager with bookmarks/favorites instead of a vim plugin.
    – r_31415
    Jul 8 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


Here's a simple function that achieves your goal, but it assumes that the text to the right of : is properly formatted for Vim (so your examples all need quotes to make strings). It does incidentally mean that the content can be an arbitrary vimscript expression :) this latter could be a security bug, so only load databases you trust. Alternately, change parts[1] and {content} to string(parts[1]) and {string(content)}, respectively, avoiding the need for quotes or any security holes from evaluating the content. (Executing the register as a macro would still, obviously, be vulnerable.)

function ReadReg(file) abort
  eval readfile(a:file)
      \ ->map({_, line -> split(line, ': ')})
      \ ->map({_, parts -> execute(printf(':let @%s = %s', parts[0], parts[1]))})

In vim9:

def ReadReg(file: string)
  readfile(file)->mapnew((_, line) => {
    var [reg, content] = split(line, ': ')
    execute $'@{reg} = {content}'

Then you could bind a :command if you wanted.

  • all need quotes to make strings Could make use of :h string() function to add proper quoting, like printf('let @%s = %s', parts[0], string(parts[1])). content can be an arbitrary vimscript expression A potential security bug?
    – Matt
    Jul 6 at 15:48
  • Agreed on both fronts; wasn't aware of string @Matt. I will make both more explicit.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Jul 6 at 15:50
  • oof, forgot about setreg. The execute could probably be removed with that.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Jul 6 at 17:49

Register contents already saved into viminfo file. But you can create some sort of "extra spare file" if you wish.

Here is (almost) one-liner:

call split('abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz', '\zs')
  \ ->filter('!empty(getreg(v:val))')
  \ ->map('printf("call setreg(%s, %s)",
  \     string(v:val), string(getreginfo(v:val)))')
  \ ->writefile('myregs.vim')

And then :source myregs.vim to restore them.

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