Repeatable operations on search matches with gn

April 18, 2016   

When you find yourself having to operate on a certain string, you may first search for it:


To change it you will usually use a repeatable operation such as ciw followed by whatever you are changing it to.

Now to repeat that change you will first jump to the next search result using n then press the . operator to repeat the change. But if you know that you are going to do that there’s an easier way:

Instead of ciw use cgn. Then just press the . and Vim will jump to the next match and change it for you.

According to Vim’s help:

gn - Searches forward for the last used search pattern, like with n, and starts Visual mode to select the match.

for more info:

:h gn
:h gN (for searching backwards)

Note: this also works with * which searches for the word currently under the cursor.

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