I'm looking for a command to delete a range of buffers.

I launch vim which opens a new unnamed buffer.
I then switch to a file on which I previously put the mark N (~/Dropbox/notes).

In this file I've written:

:e /tmp/foo
:e /tmp/bar
:e /tmp/baz
:e /tmp/qux
:e /tmp/norf

I visually select those five lines, and source them (:<c-u>@*).

Now I've got 5 new buffers.

I switch back to the N file and do a listing (ls):

  1  h   "[No Name]"                    line 1
  2 %a   "Dropbox/notes"                line 139
  3  h   "/tmp/foo"                     line 1
  4  h   "/tmp/bar"                     line 1
  5  h   "/tmp/baz"                     line 1
  6  h   "/tmp/qux"                     line 1
  7 #h   "/tmp/norf"                    line 1

I want to delete the 5 temporary buffers from 3 to 7.
Most Ex commands accept a range, and I suppose :bd is probably one of them. I may have misunderstood the help but it seems to confirm you can prefix :bd with a range :

:N,Mbdelete[!] Do ":bdelete[!]" for all buffers in the range N to M inclusive.

So, I type :3,7bd but the result is not what I expected.

All the buffers from 2 to 7 were deleted, including my N file and I'm automatically sent back to the unnamed buffer n° 1. Here's the final output of :ls:

  1 %a   "[No Name]"                    line 1

I tried other ranges like 5,6 but the result is always the same, everything is unloaded except the first buffer.

Is it possible to pass a range to the :bd command, and if so how ?


I think I've found the cause of the problem, but I don't understand it. It seems to happen only inside a buffer in which a fold has been created.

Here's how to reproduce it:

  • create a file /tmp/test in which you put : :e /tmp/foo :e /tmp/bar :e /tmp/baz :e /tmp/qux :e /tmp/norf
  • launch vim with an empty vimrc and edit the file /tmp/test:

    vim -u NONE /tmp/test

  • source it to open 5 new buffers: :so%
  • go back to first buffer (/tmp/test): :b1
  • fold the whole buffer: ggzfG
  • type :ls: 1 %a "/tmp/test" line 1 2 "/tmp/foo" line 1 3 "/tmp/bar" line 1 4 "/tmp/baz" line 1 5 "/tmp/qux" line 1 6 # "/tmp/norf" line 1

  • type :3,4bd to delete buffers from 3 to 4 (bar and baz).

On my system, vim deletes 5 buffers (1 to 5) instead of 2.

After that the output of :ls is: 6 %a "/tmp/norf" line 1

If I don't fold the buffer, the :bd command interprets the range as expected.

I'm using vim version 7.4.942 installed from this ppa.

Why is the behavior of the :bd command modified when executed inside a buffer in which a fold has been created ?

  • what vim version is this? Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 14:07
  • 1
    @ChristianBrabandt I'm using vim version 7.4.942. I've edited my question because I think the problem comes from creating a fold inside a buffer.
    – saginaw
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 16:20
  • The question (and its editing) was quite insightful, hope more people will upvote it :)
    – VanLaser
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


This is mentioned briefly at :h fold-behaviour

For Ex commands the range is adjusted to always start at the first line of a
closed fold and end at the last line of a closed fold.  Thus this command:
when used with the cursor on a closed fold, will replace "foo" with "bar" in
all lines of the fold.

I can see, how this is confusing, but I am not sure, if this qualifies as a bug.

  • 2
    To see if I got that right, if I have a fold from lines 2 to 10, and I run :3,4bd, this actually gets replaced to something equivalent to :2,10bd ?
    – VanLaser
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 18:13
  • 2
    yes, i believe this is what happens. Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 18:35
  • 3
    In any case, I just made a patch. Let's see what Bram thinks. Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 19:27
  • @ChristianBrabandt Thank you very much for the patch ! I really hope it will be accepted, because it's really annoying for someone who uses folds. Even outside of the fold, the range is still modified. Inside the test buffer, when I add " hello world ! on a new line, under the fold, and put the cursor under it to be clearly outside of the fold, :3,4bd is still modified to :1,5bd. If you've got favorite files on which you put some marks, and you replace :bd with :bw you can lose all your marks.
    – saginaw
    Commented Dec 13, 2015 at 20:00
  • 1
    @saginaw It does not really matter, where the cursor is, just if the range given falls into a folded region. Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 15:24

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