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When creating visual mode maps, you prefix ex commands with <C-u> to clear out the range if it's unused:

:xnoremap % :<C-u>execute 'normal! gv'<Bar>call Percent_nextline()<cr>

(example from How to make a movement function work with delete, yank, etc)

But is there any point in doing so for normal maps? I can't imagine any scenario where a normal noremap ends up with text in the cmdline.

In summary, do I ever need this:

:nnoremap % :<C-u>call Percent_nextline()<cr>

over this:

:nnoremap % :call Percent_nextline()<cr>
6

The point of <C-u> is to make the macro not bail out when used with a count. If you press, say, 3: in normal mode you'll get .,.+2 inserted automatically on the command line. This seldom makes sense for the map being defined. Of course this is more useful if your macro cares about counts (see :help v:count for an example), but even if it doesn't, adding <C-u> makes the macro tolerant to being called (perhaps inadvertently) with a count. Pressing 3% is an error with your definition, but works just fine with the original definition.

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