In Vim Script, I want to check for the amount of matches from a regular expression (/\%^\n*) and store the amount of matches in a variable. I this possible?

  • 1
    Does this solve your problem: Store the number of matches in VimScript function?
    – 3N4N
    Oct 2, 2022 at 2:58
  • 1
    Looking at your regex I believe it will only match once. Maybe you would like to get the length of the matching string? Oct 2, 2022 at 4:47
  • You are right, it does only match once. What I actually intend to do is store the amount of leading blank lines (not including lines with only whitespace) into a variable.
    – Amarakon
    Oct 2, 2022 at 20:20
  • @kadekai the solutions posted there work with characters, but they do not seem to work with regular expressions (it returns the incorrect amount).
    – Amarakon
    Oct 2, 2022 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


We can get the count of matches with :h searchcount(). It returns a dictionary with the following values:

key           type            meaning ~
current       |Number|        current position of match;
                              0 if the cursor position is
                              before the first match
exact_match   |Boolean|       1 if "current" is matched on
                              "pos", otherwise 0
total         |Number|        total count of matches found
incomplete    |Number|        0: search was fully completed
                              1: recomputing was timed out
                              2: max count exceeded

Since we only need the total match count, we can discard all values except total from the returned dictionary.

And as input searchcount takes a dictionary as its {options} parameter, which accepts a pattern. We can utilize this input parameter.

:let var = searchcount(#{pattern: '^\n'}).total
:echo var

NOTE: The hash character (#) before the dictionary argument of searchcount is a way to circumvent the requirement of quoting the dictionary keys; see :h literal-Dict.


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