When I want to paste some text after selecting vertically with <C-q>

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It is known that Vim/gVim will replace the character under the cursor. For example, below is shown the result after pasting hello using "+P after <C-q>.

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It is shown how the first column is being 'replaced'.

Is there some option to avoid this behavior instead of manually inserting a space to the selection and then re-select and paste?

PS: I know that in this particular example I could insert the text using s command, but my question is for a general use case.

3 Answers 3


That behavior is the normal behavior of p and P in all visual modes. It is the only desirable behavior, actually, and it happens to match how more familiar editors work:

  • you select the text you want to "paste over",
  • you "paste over" the selected text.

If that's not what you want to happen, then use a more appropriate command. In this case (assuming you want to prepend the content of the register to the selected text):

I<C-r>" <Esc>


  • That's great using <C-r>+ in my case ! Pasting using "+P after <C-q>I brakes the mode and the pasted text is not propagated to the rest of lines. Using <C-r>+ works like a sharm. I finally setup inoremap <silent> <nowait> <C-Space> <C-r>+ (Space is near the v) to easily do the pasting without breaking the mode. Thanks!
    – xyx
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 21:20

Another option: get a range for the insertion (in this case, I'd probably use vip:), then do


(abbreviate the :substitute to :s as desired).

As pointed out, if you need to manipulate the result of the paste further you need string concatenation (or other VimScript expressions); for simple things, I would probably use the I<C-r>= method. An abbreviated example with a space after the paste:

:s/^/\=@+..' '
  • missing a space? Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 13:56
  • @ChristianBrabandt do you mean you want \=@+ .. ' '? You could; the OP isn't clear about the desired results
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 14:06
  • oh I thought, that was his question. but yes, something along those lines Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 15:41
  • I explicitly written that in this particular case I know I can insert the yanked text with the substitute command, and I was interested in a general case, so when the columns are not at the first one ^, but, for example, are indented... Pasting without overwriting the character under cursor (which is what p and/or P do) is useful when coding.
    – xyx
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 20:20
  • Maybe other readers will appreciate this answer. I do. BTW, to allow for indented lines, use e.g. [range]:s/\s*\zs/\=@+. Just the first thing that came to my mind.
    – Friedrich
    Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 6:16

The solution of @romainl works fine as long as the buffer contains a normal selection. If it is containing a block selection I would do: 1v5>PgvloWhd


  • 1v select a block of the shape of your clipboard
  • 5> make enough room to insert the block
  • P paste the block
  • gvloWh select the not necessary white spaces
  • d delete them

This assume that the first line of the block is made of one WORD

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