There are occasions where I use macros to re-format multiple lines, where the lines can have a different format. For these tasks, I use appropriate macros, but due to the different formats this can fail. In these cases I might use multiple macros that I then use accordingly to the current line, but I was wondering if there is a better way.

As an example: I was re-formatting the following lines, where I wanted every entry of the lua tables to be on their own line:

{ foo = 1, bar = 2 },
{ foo = 42, bar = -4 },
{ foo = 1, bar = 9, baz = "boo" },

In this case I'd use a macro that inserts new lines after commas and also puts the closing } on its own line (of course some of this can be fixed by fitting :s commands, but this is a simple example, these can get more complex.

Is there a good way to tackle these cases? I'd also be happy to use a macro that inserts one line but repeats itself until there are no more matches on this line. However, I also would not know how to do that.

  • 1
    This sounds like a job for a formatter.
    – romainl
    Nov 16, 2023 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


I would have the following macro:


And I would call it repeatedly.


  • ^M stands for Enter and
  • ^[ stands for Esc
  • Thanks. I'd also use something similar, but I usually then after recording a macro use :norm@a on a range of lines. It would be nice if the macro could figure out itself how often it needs to be called.
    – pschulz
    Oct 17, 2023 at 9:38
  • 1
    @pschulz the classic way is a recursive macro where an early or late « go to next occurrence » command can fail (such as searching or the f/t commands), since failures end macro playback.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Oct 17, 2023 at 20:18

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