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Reapply the Previous Visual Selection in Vim

Josh Branchaud
I'm a developer and consultant focused primarily on the web, specializing in React, Ruby on Rails, and PostgreSQL. Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/jbranchaud
・1 min read

Visual selections in Vim are powerful because they allow you to visually define a sub-context for all kinds of commands. Defining a precise visual selection can be important to making surgical changes.

Have you ever carefully defined a visual selection, had to back out of it to do something else, and then carefully re-define that same visual selection?

It's not a big deal, but as Vim users, we try to make every keystroke count. To this end, Vim has a way of reapplying the previous visual selection, which I cover in an episode of Vim 🔥 Tips and Tricks.

Hitting gv, from normal mode, will put you back into visual mode with the same bounds as the previously defined selection. See :h gv.

Vim is able to do this because it keeps track of the bounds of your previous visual selection using the < and > marks.


There is more where that came from. If you enjoyed this post and screencast, subscribe to my newsletter and check out the rest of the Vim 🔥 Tips and Tricks series.

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