In Neovim, I used the J command to join lines, and now I'm looking for a keybinding in normal mode that can do the opposite: replace the space after a word with a line break.

I've tried a few "revJ" (reverse J) plugins for Neovim, but I couldn't get them to work correctly, likely due to my configuration.

I'm wondering if there's a good solution for this inconvenience.

My goal:

"a, bb, ccc" => "a,

2 Answers 2


The :substitute command can be used to replace spaces with line breaks like this:

:s/ /\r/g

This will replace every space with a line break and repeat for every match on the line (g flag at the end)

It would be a little more robust (and a little bit more typing) to use:


This will work on any sequence of whitespace (\s) repeated one or more times (\+). So tabs are also taken care of, and multiple spaces will still result in only one line break.

See :help :substitute for reference.

To create a reverse J mapping for regular use, you can use the following:

:nnoremap <key> <Cmd>s/\s\+/\g/g<CR>

Replace <key> with whatever key (sequence) you want for reverse J.

By the way, all of this will work both in Vim and in NeoVim.


The solution I found:

The keybindig consists of the following commands: f<space>s<enter><C-c>

f<space> ... jumps over a word

s<enter> ... removes the space and inserts a new line character

<C-c> ... represents the keybind Ctrl-C and for me, it exits the insert mode

This solution is meant for those who want a command that works on a line-per-line basis and doesn't just transform the whole text. This solution also works if there are multiple spaces between words.

  • 2
    You could also use r<CR> to replace a single character with a newline. No need to leave insert mode after that.
    – Friedrich
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 7:13
  • 2
    C-c and Esc behave differently. Prefer Esc.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Nov 3, 2023 at 13:19

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