Yeah... let me explain.

So I have this text that has hyphens on some words at the end of the line to join words, like this:

hello, my na- 
me is bruh... 

This is a scanned book with OCR, and on every line there's a trailing space.

So, what I wanna do is make a shortcut, or map a list of commands (normal mode commands? idk how they're called) to:

  • search - \n (hyphen space newline) and then
  • do xxgJ (delete two characters [the selected by the search, and the trailing space] and join the line without adding a space).


map <C-`> /- \n<CR><bar>xxgJ

I'm aware I can also do 2x instead of xx.

And, it didn't work.

Now, maybe x or dl, same thing according to :help x, doesn't work when mapping it, like sort of how you have to use \r when replacing instead of \n (weird btw...).

But I don't know.

In normal mode they work as expected.

/- \n
<hit enter>

But when mapping them, the part that's supossed to delete the character under the cursor (x or dl) doesn't work.

Please help. And sorry for the humongous post.

2 Answers 2


I would do:

map <C-`> /- \n<CR>xxgJ

The right hand side term of a mapping is like a macro, a bare list of character that will be passed to Vim.

Since you have no need to type | to execute your action there are no need to insert <bar>.

  • I CANNOT BELIVE THE ANSWER WAS THAT SIMPLE... do you know why this is? Thank you very much.
    – IBM
    Feb 9, 2023 at 19:22
  • 1
    The mapping string is executed as is. You would not need to type | and so you would not need to insert <bar> :-) Feb 9, 2023 at 19:25
  • Thanks for the feedback :-) Feb 9, 2023 at 19:25
  • 1
    @VivianDeSmedt Perhaps add the explanation about why <bar> is incorrect in your answer.
    – filbranden
    Feb 9, 2023 at 19:33
  • Also, why does \n not work when replacing? Why do we have to use \r? It's an unrelated question.
    – IBM
    Feb 13, 2023 at 13:05

Another possible solution is to use the :s command to handle these cases, you can match the - \n snippet and just replace it by an empty string, which will also end up joining lines (since you're replacing the line break with an empty string.)

:%s/- \n//
  • 1
    Thank you! This is actually a better wway to do it...
    – IBM
    Feb 13, 2023 at 13:03

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