I want to enable vim-ag to search a word inside specific directory.

Currently I have the following mapping in my vimrc:

noremap <leader>a  :Ag! <C-r>=expand('<cword>')<CR><CR>

which searchs the cword in the current directory.

I want to expand it a bit so that I would be able to search in another directory as well.

I'm not sure if I can use noremap to get additional input (the target directory). If this is possible - then that would be best (i.e. press <leader>a -> add somehow the target directory -> Ag will search the cword in target directory)

If not - I want to config Ag manually - with another binding, to look in my git repo head directory - something like:

noremap <leader>a  :Ag! <C-r>=expand('<cword>') <GIT REPO DIR><CR><CR>
  1. would that work (I'm not sure if the expand operator breaks things or not
  2. how do I get the git repo dir?
  • 1
    1. It's "register", not "buffer". 2. You appear to be asking two different things: how to use the visually highlighted text in a command and how to make your plugin search in the working directory. Those are separate problems that you should ask about in separate questions.
    – romainl
    Feb 9, 2023 at 8:35
  • Thanks for the coment - I'll rephrase Feb 9, 2023 at 8:35

3 Answers 3


The right-hand-side of your mapping is a macro: a collection of keystroke that Vim performs for you. This means that, with the cursor on foo, your mapping "types" the following in the command-line:

Ag! foo

and immediately presses <CR>, executing the command.

If you want a chance to provide a directory, you can simply:

  • add a space after the first <CR>,

  • and remove the second <CR>, like this:

    nnoremap a :Ag! =expand('')

It will leave you there:

:Ag! foo

ready to type your directory. If you don't want to specify a directory, just press <CR>.

That said, the plugin seems to have an option https://github.com/rking/ag.vim#configuration, that might help with your underlying problem.


I would propose you to make sure the current working directory is the directory of the git root.

To achieve that automatically you could use the vim-rooter plugin.

  1. You can use input() to request input. Something like :nnoremap <leader>a :Ag! stuff <C-r>=input('directory')<CR><CR>
  2. If you’re already using fugitive, it provides FugitiveGitDir(); otherwise, something like systemlist('git rev-parse --git-dir')[0], I think.
  • I do use fugitive! I'll check it, thanks Feb 9, 2023 at 17:00

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