I edit quite a few BibTeX files, and I regularly forget the trailing commas:

For example:

 author = {Cooke, Lez},
 title = {British Television Drama},
 publisher = {Palgrave on behalf of the British Film Institute},
 year = {2015},
 keywords = {about}
 address = {London},
 isbn = {978-1844576234}

You'll see that I forgot to add the comma after keywords = {about}, which will mean that I have to spend time debugging. Is there a way Vim can make me remember? By the way, I have the bib_autocomp.vim plugin ...

  • Not that I know of, but you could try something like this to fix it: :%s/[^ ,]\zs\ze\n\s*[^ }]/,/. Oct 22 '15 at 14:31

Quick and dirty solution:

:match Error /^\s\+.*,\@<!\ze\n\s\+\w/

You could also create a special syntax for BibTeX files using the same pattern.

Some explanations on the used regular expression:

  1. ^\s\+ searches for indented keywords.
  2. \ze stops the pattern matching such that the next line is not marked.
  3. ,\@<!\n searches for lines not ending with a comma.
  4. \n\s\+\w guarantees that there is a new entry after the currently being scanned.

The same pattern can be used to jump between erroneous lines using vimgrep as following:

:vimgrep /^\s\+.*,\@<!\ze\n\s\+\w/ %

If the quickfix window does not open automatically, it can be opened using :copen. And :cnext and :cprevious can be used to jump between errors.

  • This is good! Can I somehow make it jump to the next error when I press n? Oct 25 '15 at 14:56
  • I've updated the answer to include what you asked for. See if it works for you.
    – Vitor
    Oct 25 '15 at 19:38

One possibility is defining a .vimrc shortcut to add the missing ,


:map \q  :%s/\v([}"])(\s*\n\s*\S+\s*\=)/\1,\2/<CR>

and use \q before leaving or when debugging.

  • Not working for me? I get E10: \ should be followed by /, ? or & 24,1 60%, but perhaps I am doing it wrong? Oct 25 '15 at 14:55
  • @KristianNordestgaard, in .vimrcwe have to remove initial ":" . Please try map \q :%s/\v([}"])(\s*\n\s*\S+\s*\=)/\1,\2/e<CR><CR>
    – JJoao
    Oct 25 '15 at 17:31

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