I have hlsearch set, but it sometimes lulls me into thinking t hat I have the search term visually selected, and can just hit c to change it.

The term searched for may not be an easy number of letters, words, even lines - and anyway, I don't want to count.

Is there a way to vh (or ch), say, where h runs until the current highlighting stops?

1 Answer 1


You can use the gn motion for that, it selects the next searched element.

You can use it like so:

gn            -> select the next "foo"
sbar<Esc>     -> (optional) substitute it with "bar"

Bonus: To have . repeat the search and the change, use a c to do everything in one command:

...           -> find and change the 3 next foo
  • 1
    Fantastic! Thanks. (Anyone that like me misses why . will repeat the entire action, and can't make it work - read more carefully - c first! Couldn't ask for better.)
    – OJFord
    Apr 6, 2016 at 10:27
  • 3
    Note that you can also use gN to visually select the previous match.
    – statox
    Apr 6, 2016 at 11:52
  • What's the difference between this and just pressing n to get to the next search result? Apr 6, 2016 at 14:42
  • it does the change also, so instead of repeating n. (next occurence, repeat the modification), you can just press . (repeat the modification, which is "change the next occurence")
    – nobe4
    Apr 6, 2016 at 16:25
  • Indeed, when . invokes gn, the original foo has disappeared, so Vim searches for the next foo. So gn does what n would have done anyway (and more). But, as with n, note that this only works well when bar does not contain foo! Sep 20, 2016 at 8:10

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