#!/usr/bin/env bash
# scp /tmp/abc.sh SERVER1:~/bin && ssh SERVER1 "~/bin/abc.sh"
echo "Hello Stack Exchange"
echo "thanks for the help

I would like to be able to use a keyboard mapping to be able to do <leader>r when my cursor is on line 2 and run the command in the bash shell. To do this, I need to be able to remove the # at the start of line two. :.w writes the whole line and it appears there is no way to use :w ! bash on a partial line. I've also tried :.w !sed "s/^# \(.*\)/\1/" but sed appears to have a problem with the # as part of command (E194).

It seems this should be relatively easy but I'm at my wits end. I'm running a Mac with Bash 5.2. Any help appreciated.

  • Funny I didn't think of this earlier, but the easiest solutions is to just put a multiple line bash comment at the start of the file and then have my little macros be one per line and execute them normally. Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 8:54
  • Bash doesn't really have multiline comments so be careful with that strategy.
    – romainl
    Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


Indeed you can't feed a partial line to :w ! or any other Ex command.

But you can use a bunch of vimscript functions to get a functionally identical outcome:

nnoremap <leader>r <Cmd>echo system('bash', substitute(getline('.'), '^#*\s*', '', ''))<CR>
  • :help getline() grabs the content of the given line(s), here it is the content of the current line,
  • :help substitute() changes whatever needs to be changed in the given line, here we remove eventual leading comment and whitespace, which makes the mapping work the same on commented and uncommented lines,
  • the result is passed to :help system() as input.

Note that quoting and escaping issues are easy to come by when dealing with the shell. I would recommend you read help system() carefully.

  • Many thanks for this. I'll have a read of the system documentation as it will help me get a better grasp of what is going on. I'll comment more once I've given it a try. Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 13:21
  • It works perfectly. Many thanks! Since I'm new and don't have any reputation I can't vote the answer up, but if/when I can I will. Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 13:41

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