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For example, if I have four lines as follows:

the first line
the second line
the third line
the fourth line

I want to reverse them to

the fourth line
the third line
the second line
the first line

How could I do this in vim?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 36 down vote accepted

To reverse all the lines in a file,

:g/^/m0

For an explanation see

:help 12.4

which also shows how to reverse just a range of lines.

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2  
Great tip on the exact help section! To summarize: 1. set a marker at the last line you want reverse (I name the marker 'a' using ma), 2. move cursor to the first line of the block, 3. type :'a,.g/^/m 'a –  Rubistro Dec 6 '13 at 19:25

Select the desired lines, hit !, and in the resulting prompt pipe the lines through tac a la :'<,'>!tac. See man tac for more details.

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Cannot be any easier. Thanks! –  sjas Apr 4 '13 at 6:39
    
To select the lines, use shift+v to enter visual line mode, then j to add lines to the selection. –  wisbucky May 21 at 21:46

On Mac OS X, tac does not exist, but you can use tail -r to the same effect:

:%!tail -r

This also works nicely for visual mode:

:'<,'>!tail -r

Excerpt from tail(1)'s manpage:

The -r option causes the input to be displayed in reverse order, by line. Additionally, this option changes the meaning of the -b, -c and -n options. When the -r option is specified, these options specify the number of bytes, lines or 512-byte blocks to display, instead of the bytes, lines or blocks from the beginning or end of the input from which to begin the display. The default for the -r option is to display all of the input.

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Excellent! So to provide 'tac' under OS X: alias tac='tail -r' –  Rubistro Dec 6 '13 at 19:27
    
You can also brew install coreutils and use gtac. –  Andrew Marshall Apr 11 at 3:25
" Reverse the lines of the whole file or a visually highlighted block.
    " :Rev is a shorter prefix you can use.
    " Adapted from http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/vim/message/34305
command! -nargs=0 -bar -range=% Reverse
    \       let save_mark_t = getpos("'t")
    \<bar>      <line2>kt
    \<bar>      exe "<line1>,<line2>g/^/m't"
    \<bar>  call setpos("'t", save_mark_t)

(Based on: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/vim/message/34305 )

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