In insert-mode, I would like to extract the current line number I'm editing in a "variable"/memory/buffer, and to be able to paste it through a remapping.

I know that :echo line(".") gives me the line number. I have found how to insert the line number at the beginning of each line, using :s/^/\=line("."). But I would like to have a remapping like :

:inoremap \l <Esc>:echo line(".") > buffer<CR> p

that would extract the line number and paste it at my current cursor position.

(Sources of previous searches : How to add permanent line numbers to a file?)

2 Answers 2


This is a perfect use case for the expression register:

inoremap <key> <C-r>=line(".")<CR>


inoremap <expr> <key> line(".")

See :help \=, :help i_ctrl-r, and :help <expr>.

  • 1
    Is there a way to save this (without having to use let) ?
    – nobe4
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 10:01
  • 2
    No. :let it is. But you can save it into a variable (:let foo = ...) or into a register (:let @a = ...).
    – romainl
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 10:03

You can save it in a register with let :

inoremap \l <Esc>:let @l = line(".")<CR>

If you want to immediately paste it, you can do so with:

inoremap \p <Esc>:let @l = line(".")<CR>"lp

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