I am interested in populating the quickfix list with filenames selected according to a criteria that is independent of the files content. For example, I want to populate the quickfix only with python files present in the current directory and its subdirectories, independently of the files content.

I tried :vimgrep// ./**/*.py but it does not work.

2 Answers 2


The trouble with:

:vimgrep // ./**/*.py

is that it will search for the last search pattern, that's what // does, so you can basically get two unsatisfactory outcomes:

  • there is nothing in register /, therefore you get an error,
  • there is something in register /, therefore you possibly get a quickfixlist, with possibly one entry for possibly every desired file.

That is a pretty haphazard strategy.

One way to make it more deterministic while keeping it lo-tech would be to use a more precise pattern that is sure to be found exactly once, in every single matching file:

:vimgrep /\%1l/ **/*.py

where we search for line 1, which is guaranteed to be found even in empty files.

See :help \%l.

Another lo-tech approach could be to do something like:

set efm=%f
:cexpr glob('**/*.py')
set efm&

where we:

  • temporarily change the :help 'errorformat' option so that it can deal with a list of files,
  • use :help :cexpr to populate the quickfix list with the output of :help glob(), parsed according to the errorformat option,
  • revert errorformat to its default value.

But that assumes that errorformat was the default value to begin with.

One could also probably do something similar with $ man find or $ man locate. Or possibly with a combination of :help setqflist() and glob(), etc.

But I think the \%1l trick is the easiest to pull "on the spot": just basic vimming without any setup or third-party cruft.



I would do:

:vimgrep /\%^/ **/*.py

Where \%^ match the beginning of a file.

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