Macros in vim can be a huge time saver, especially if they apply to a large number of lines. A trick I’ve been using recently is to use recursive macros to format large chunks of a file.
Let’s say we have the following list of thousands of dates:
10/30/2013 11/30/2013 12/30/2013 ...
And we want to change each to the following:
10/30/2013 : 10-30-2013 11/30/2013 : 11-30-2013 12/30/2013 : 12-30-2013 ...
Let’s create the macro:
qqq #clear out anything that may already be in the q register qq #start recording a macro and store it in the q register y$ #copy to the end of the current line A #append the end of the current line <Space>:<Space> #add a colon surrounded by spaces <Escape> #return to visual mode p #paste the date from the buffer F/ #find the last instance of / r- #replace the / with a - ;. #repeat the last find and replace ^ #go to the front of the line j #move down one line @q #make the macro recursive by having it invoke itself q #stop recording the macro
Now when you run
@q vim will run the macro on every line until it finishes
while you sit back and relax. I like using recursive macros because the loop
will be exited if it fails to execute on a line. This improves the speed of
making changes without risking applying it incorrectly throughout the file,
provided you write your macros carefully.
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