I find :set hlsearch useful while I am entering the pattern; but I want the effect of :noh as soon as I press enter. Is that possible?

  • 2
    Maybe nnoremap <CR> :nohl<CR><C-L>?
    – statox
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 20:31
  • @statox: thanks! what does <c-l> do?
    – Toothrot
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 20:35
  • It redraws the screen (:h CTRL-L). Does the mapping works properly? I havent tested it so I'd like to have a confirmation before I make it an answer :-)
    – statox
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 20:37
  • @statox: yes. except I discovered that multiple highlights are only showed after <cr>; but the mapping works with the 2nd <cr>.
    – Toothrot
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 20:48
  • I not sure of what 2nd <CR> you're talking about, now I have access to a Vim I just tested nnoremap <CR> :nohl<CR> (without redraw) and it seems to work properly.
    – statox
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 21:57

3 Answers 3


From a excellent book -- "Practical Vim":

Typing :noh<CR> to mute search highlighting is laborious. You can speed things up by creating a mapping such as this:

nnoremap <silent> <C-l> :<C-u>nohlsearch<CR><C-l> 

Normally, clears and redraws the screen (see :h CTRL-L). This mapping builds on top of the usual behavior by muting search highlighting.

You can add this line to you vimrc file. If you hit Ctrl+l, Vim will mute search highlighting and redraw the screen at the same time.


I think you can achieve what you want through the mapping

cnoremap <silent> <cr> <cr>:nohl<cr>

The above mapping should turn of highlighted searches after you have pressed enter to accept the search pattern.

Note, though, that the highlighting is turned back on with for instance n and N, i.e. when repeating the search. You can turn this off with maps, e.g.

nnoremap n n:nohl<cr>
nnoremap N N:nohl<cr>

Note: I found that the above cnoremap does not work as expected if you use the incsearch plugin, and I could not find why.

  • You could remap n with :nnoremap n n:nohl<CR> Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 1:05

I have in my .vimrc

:nmap <leader>q :nohlsearch<CR>

which maps my leader (\ by default, but I remapped to ,) then q to remove the search highlighting. Not exactly what you're looking for, but it might be worthwhile.

That, and several other nice bits came from http://dougblack.io/words/a-good-vimrc.html#search, though he uses space to disable the highlight.

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