I have many large size files may including the same function definition.
The block description is start with .start .* and end with .end
In this example there is one duplicate definition .start aa aa
My purpose is to make the duplicated description unique.
BTW, I am using Windows Vim, there's no Linux command uniq to use.

.start aa aa

.start bb cc

.start aa aa                   <---- duplicated description from here
.end                           <---- to there

My traditional solution is:

  1. Find the every block and replace the \n to \t as a marker in order to make them into one line :g/\v\.start/,/\.end/s/\n/\t/g
  2. Sort the line and remove the duplicated keep unique :sort u
  3. Finally replace the marker \t to \n make the line back to original block style :g/\v^\.start.*end/s/\t/\r/g


Refer to these two answers
How can I sort multiline blocks in vim?
I found a helpful and easy way to sort the block by group or by header

So is there a more efficient way than my traditional solution to keep the same definition block unique?

1 Answer 1


Some details of your implementation could be improved but the general strategy is sound.

:sort u
  • No need for \v.
  • Some patterns can be simplified.
  • No need for /g on the first command since there is only one \n per line.

The first command may also be simplified to:


See :help '}.

Note that :sort u kind of implies that you only have those blocks in the buffer, which may or may not open the door to undesired side-effects if that's not the case (losing single line comments, messing with multiline comments, etc.).

If that's too much work, several plugin-based solutions have been suggested in the linked Q/As.

  • Where'e the linked Q/As?
    – M_Sea
    Nov 11, 2023 at 1:03
  • In… your question?
    – romainl
    Nov 11, 2023 at 10:05
  • lol, I misunderstand.
    – M_Sea
    Nov 13, 2023 at 2:05

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