Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If I have this text in vim, and my cursor is at the first character:

I know that I can do:

  • cw to change up to the first period, because a word (lowercase w) ends at any punctuation OR white space
  • cW to change the whole address, because a Word (uppercase w) ends only at whitespace

Now, what if I have this:


and want to change it to this?


Both cw and cW change the whole thing, but I just want to change the fragment before the underscore.

My fallback technique is c/_, meaning 'change until you hit the next underscore in a search,' but for me, that also causes all underscores to be highlighted as search terms, which is slightly annoying.

Is there a specifier like w or W that doesn't include underscores?

share|improve this question
What's wrong with :nohl? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Feb 10 '11 at 14:27
I do want search terms to be highlighted most of the time; just not when I use search as a movement. (I also just asked this question:…) – Nathan Long Feb 10 '11 at 14:36
up vote 55 down vote accepted

You can do cf_. f won't highlight the searched character.

You can also do ct_ if you don't want to include the _.

share|improve this answer
You're confusing f, t, F and T. f moves forward to the character; F moves backward to the character; t moves forward to just before the character; and T moves backward to the character to the right of the target character. So your second example should have been ct_. – garyjohn Feb 10 '11 at 16:55
Now my answer is corrected. Sorry and thank you. – doubleface Feb 10 '11 at 17:12
ct_ is exactly what I wanted. This has now become part of my regular workflow. Thanks! – Nathan Long Mar 2 '11 at 11:59

Put this in your .vimrc:

set iskeyword-=_

Then _ will be treated as a word boundary (though not a WORD boundary), and cw could be used to just change "awesome", and cW to change the whole thing.


:help iskeyword


:help word

for more info.

share|improve this answer
That is fantastic! Thank you! – Nathan Long Feb 11 '11 at 12:41
It's great to know that I can define my own word boundaries, but after some thought, I think the best solution is ct_ as doubleface says below, since it's concise and is default vim behavior. – Nathan Long Mar 2 '11 at 12:01
This is my personal favorite – Wade Feb 26 at 19:17

camelcasemotion is a pretty handy vim plugin that allows you to move through words when using underscore or camelcase notation. Using this plugin you can place a comma in front of many of the traditional vim motion commands which will allow you to treat words in underscore or camelcase notation as full words.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .