How do I select all the content of a file in Vim and VsVim? Like in other editors ctrl+A does the job for select all.

  • 3
    SibiCoder's answer is good, but it would be useful to know what you intend to do with the content you copied.
    – Law29
    Jul 31 '16 at 8:22
  • 5
    First, you "select" some text in a "buffer", not in a "file". Two, "selecting" is often useless in Vim so you must be clear about what you want to do with that "selection". For you and for us.
    – romainl
    Jul 31 '16 at 9:33
  • 3
    @romainly I think the OP means selecting the whole file in visual mode, considering that ctrl+a in other editors visually highlights the entire file. Jul 31 '16 at 13:14
  • @statox Why did you edit vsvim out? It's not a huge deal to me, but I think the tag is perfectly appropriate, and I didn't want to get in an edit war. (I would have pinged you in :chat!, but you haven't been in that room recently, so it wouldn't let me)
    – DJMcMayhem
    Aug 1 '16 at 23:28
  • @DJMcMayhem: It was an error: I first thought that vsvim was like vimperator and this kind of plugins for other softwares and thus was off topic so I removed it, then I had a doubt so I checked meta and saw that it was on topic so I approved your tag edit but forgot to edit the question again. I'm changing that right now, sorry for that.
    – statox
    Aug 2 '16 at 7:35

ggVG selects all content. gg moves to first line. V starts visual mode. G jumps to last line thereby selecting from first to last line

  • 1
    I keep getting no a vim command for ggVG and gg, even G Oct 7 '20 at 16:09
  • 77 upvotes and marked as the accepted answer yet it's wrong? Even according to the text of the answer itself the combination would be VggG. Feb 5 at 19:45
  • 2
    Both mine and yours are correct. Visual mode works both ways
    – SibiCoder
    Mar 21 at 15:00

Along with SibiCoder's answer, if you have a clear idea of what you want to do you can use the following:


Where X is a command, for example:

:%d             -> delete every line
:%y             -> yank every line
:%normal! >>    -> indent every line

You have also the global command :g which, with the search pattern ^, can do the same thing:

:g/^/d             -> delete every line
:g/^/y             -> yank every line
:g/^/normal! >>    -> indent every line

If what you want is selecting the text, then ggVG is fine, but keep in mind these method, in the case you already know what is the next step. Note that it won't leave the cursor in visual mode.

See: :h :% and :h :g for reference.

Note that, even though the C-A mapping is used in vim (see :h CTRL-A), you can map it to do what other editors do:

nnoremap <C-A> ggVG

The other answers are good. Here's another alternative.

Since you mention that you are using VsVim, you can change which keys are handled by visual Studio, and which keys are handled by vsvim. Go to

Tools -> Options -> VsVim -> Keyboard

From there you can set Ctrl-a to be handled by Visual Studio, rather than VsVim.

Although I do not recommend this since you will not be able to use vim's <C-a>, which I find to be an essential feature. Though it's up to you.


As @SibiCoder mentioned ggVG does the trick, but I like something closer to Ctrl+A.

So I added this line to my .vimrc

nnoremap <leader>a ggVG

Now pressing <leader>a will select everything, in my case it's \a.


you can use a big number like 99999yy to select all the content of your file

  • 5
    Files larger than 100000 lines are possible, though rare. Also, using yy will yank them, not select them.
    – DJMcMayhem
    Aug 3 '16 at 6:43
  • 1
    yah sure you are right but when selecting something it's for the most cases to cut,copy or delete them :)
    – Adel Kihal
    Aug 4 '16 at 8:51
  • That's what i needed. Select all and yank.
    – Ivan
    Jan 31 '20 at 15:57
  • 1
    Just :%y is enough. Or :%y + to yank everything in the + register. Nov 20 '20 at 14:09

If you'd like a faster/more intuitive way to do this and don't mind adding a plugin, this looks handy: https://github.com/kana/vim-textobj-entire

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