We can retrieve search and replace history on IDEs and text editors.

Likewise is there a search history or a way to retrieve previously searched expression in Vim?

3 Answers 3


Yes, you have the history command:

:history /

Note that it can be used for /, :, =, >, ?, @, all, cmd, debug, expr, input and search.

Alternatively you can use the q:, q/ and q? commands to see previously entered commands and searches on a sepearate buffer. You can then modify as you want and replay them by pressing <CR>.

See :h :history, :h q:.

  • 1
    Thanks. Previously I tried just :history which was bit closer.
    – vusan
    May 10, 2016 at 11:53
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    As for replace, one can look at q:. It's not exclusive to replaces, but it's a real buffer, so all of vim's power works there. May 10, 2016 at 11:54
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    @PhilippFrank, I'll add this to the answer, thanks
    – nobe4
    May 10, 2016 at 11:54
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    This answer works great- if you want fast/fuzzy search through your search/command history, you can also use :History/ and :History: using the fzf plugin
    – bricoletc
    Jun 20, 2022 at 12:47

You can use :history s for search history. As a shortcut, you can use :his s. Same way for command line history also.


Just hit / and then Ctrl-f to bring up the search history directly under your cursor, scroll with motion keys and Enter at whichever phrase you need to return to. Since I discovered that Ctrl-f list I've never used awful distant Arrow keys to scroll over.

  • Also q/, q:, etc., mentioned in the accepted answer
    – D. Ben Knoble
    May 29, 2023 at 12:29
  • @D.BenKnoble Yes, q/ is the same and even simpler. The only benefit of Ctrl-f is when you're already in the search mode / (or other mode) and want to bring up the history. Anyway thank you for the indication.
    – bloody
    Jun 3, 2023 at 17:39

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