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  1. I select the whole contents of a source buffer: ggVGy.
  2. Then I move to another buffer, let's say D1.
  3. I update the the whole contents of the destination buffer with the yanked text: ggVGp.

Now, if I try to repeat the last two steps on a new destination buffer, let's say D2, I see I have lost the original source text. Instead, what I have in the clipboard are the contents of the last destination buffer, D1.

  • Is there a way I can repeatedly yank the same source text to different destination buffers?
  • What can be the reason to this behaviour? May I have a setting saying something like "selecting text automatically yanks it"? If so, I think I would like to disable that behaviour.
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  • This is a frequent source of confusion :) I wish we had a better reference Q, but romainl's answer below covers most of the important parts.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Dec 25, 2022 at 22:54

1 Answer 1

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What can be the reason to this behaviour?

The rationale is explained under :help v_p:

With p the previously selected text is put in the unnamed register (and
possibly the selection and/or clipboard).  This is useful if you want to put
that text somewhere else.  But you cannot repeat the same change.

Is there a way I can repeatedly yank the same source text to different destination buffers?

Look no further than the next paragraph of the same help section, which gives you two methods:

With P the unnamed register is not changed (and neither the selection or
clipboard), you can repeat the same change. But the deleted text cannot be
used.

and:

If you do need it you can use p with another register.  E.g., yank
the text to copy, Visually select the text to replace and use "0p .  You can
repeat this as many times as you like, and the unnamed register will be
changed each time.

So, you would do it like this with the first method:

ggVGy
:bnext
ggVGP
:bnext
ggVGP

and like this with the second method:

ggVGy
:bnext
ggVG"0p
:bnext
ggVG"0p

Note that you can use yet another vanilla method: yanking to/putting from a named register:

ggVG"ay
:bnext
ggVG"ap
:bnext
ggVG"ap

See :help registers for "a and "0.

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  • You know this, but :%yank/:%yank a and :%delete | put 0/:%delete | put a are also options with convenient shorthands.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Dec 25, 2022 at 22:52
  • Yes I do, and there are other methods, even. But I wanted to stay within the scope of the question.
    – romainl
    Dec 26, 2022 at 7:48
  • Many thanks for the detailed explanation. Appreciated!
    – rturrado
    Dec 26, 2022 at 11:56

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