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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?

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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

3 Answers 3

up vote 46 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 _.

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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.

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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

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.

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