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I wonder is there a way to count highlighted symbols in vim (including white spaces)?


VIM visual mode

It shows rows count if my selection is on multiple rows. I need symbols count.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Unless I'm missing something, Vim already does that. If I highlight some text using the mouse or by typing v and moving the cursor, I see at the bottom of the screen

-- VISUAL --                                        12

where the number on the right is the number of highlighted characters. This only works if the selection is on a single row, otherwise it shows the row count.

You can also visually select some region of text and type g Ctrl-G which will show the number of lines, words and bytes selected.

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(stunned) How the heck did I use Vim for so long and never notice that ? But in my defense, I was thinking about obtaining the number programmatically. – njd May 27 '11 at 8:44
Good answer, but take a look at updated question. As well as @njd I did not notice that. – Nemoden May 27 '11 at 9:28
@Nemoden: Try the second part of garyjohn's suggestion (g Ctrl-G). It should show a line like "Selected # of # Lines; # of # Words; # of # Bytes." – peth May 27 '11 at 9:48
Oh. My bad. I don't know why I've skipped the second solution. It works. Thank you! – Nemoden May 27 '11 at 9:50
This isn't enabled by default on some systems. Just add set showcmd to your vimrc to enable it. – Tyler Holien Mar 14 '13 at 15:48
:function VisualLength()
:  exe 'normal "xy'
:  echo "Visual: " . strlen(@x) . "\n"
:  exe 'normal gv'

:map ,q "xy:call VisualLength()<CR>
  1. First you yank the current selection (into buffer x)

  2. Then you display the length of that buffer: strlen(@x)
    (The -- VISUAL -- displayed in the status line obscures this, so we have to add a newline)

  3. Highlight the previous visual range: gv

This doesn't take account of whether the visual mode was line-, character- or block-mode, but it's enough for most cases.

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Vim flips between displaying character count and line count for visualised text depending on what and how you visualise (vim 7.4 patched to Sept 2015)

V will display line count
v$ will display character count

If you visualise more than one line it only displays line count

g-CTRL-G displays 'byte count' which seems to be 'char count' +1 per line
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As the question says, even normal v switches from character-count to line-count if the selection spans multiple lines. However g CTRL-G does the job nicely. – joeytwiddle Feb 19 at 5:16

For a programmatic way within vimscript, this worked for me when the selection is limited to within one line:

let amount = virtcol("'>") - virtcol("'<")

(Using virtcol(..) instead of col(..), such that it works as expected when :set ve=all is active.)

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