I am working on writing a keymap through lua script in Neovim:

  • First, selecting some words in visual mode and, in the corresponding lua script, trying to get the value of vim.fn.wordcount().visual_words which I expect it return the word count in my selected region for later usage.
  • Then, (keep the selected text in visual mode from the previous step,) use the keymap to do something.

I've found some information as follows

  1. https://neovim.io/doc/user/builtin.html#wordcount()
  2. https://neovim.io/doc/user/editing.html#v_g_CTRL-G

What I tried

For trial, for instance, in a file containing the text

,,,, ,,, ,,,,, ,,  ,,,

:lua print(vim.fn.wordcount().words) gives 5 in status massage (v:statusmsg).

However, when I tried to get vim.fn.wordcount().visual_words after selecting some text (shown by being surrounded by a pair of |) as follows

,,,, ,,, |,,,,, ,,  ,,,|

both of :'< '> lua print(vim.fn.wordcount().visual_words) or :lua print(vim.fn.wordcount().visual_words) (manually delete '< '>) give nil.

For the same selected text (in visual mode), the keystroke g<C-g> and then :echo v:statusmsg gives the result Selected 1 of 1 Lines; 3 of Words; 13 of 25 Bytes.

It seems that I use vim.fn.wordcount().visual_words in the wrong way but the manual https://neovim.io/doc/user/builtin.html#wordcount() doesn't explicitly guide us the correct way to use.

How can I use the information from vim.fn.wordcount().visual_words in lua? Could someone help? Thanks.

  • 1
    help topic for wordcount is a direct replica of what vim has and in vim it might be called using <cmd>, e.g. xnoremap <c-l> <cmd>echow wordcount()<CR>.
    – Maxim Kim
    Apr 2 at 6:45
  • Thanks! It helps!
    – HRC
    Apr 7 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


As Maxim Kim commented, using : exits visual mode, and wordcount() will not have the key .visual_words (since that is only available in visual mode). The workaround is to use <cmd> in the mapping, such as

xnoremap <C-l> <cmd>echo wordcount().visual_words)<CR>

In lua, this would be

vim.keymap.set('x', '<C-l>', "<cmd>lua print(vim.fn.wordcount().visual_words)<CR>")
  • Thanks for replying; it really helps!
    – HRC
    Apr 7 at 10:22

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