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How can I paste the last string of text that I entered when I was in insert mode? I think I've done this before on accident but I can't recall how.

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I believe the command you're looking for is simply . (period/full stop key). It's a normal mode command, so simply press the key in normal mode.

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. in normal mode will repeat the last change. If you want to paste the last inserted text it can be found in the . register. e.g. ".p In insert mode to insert the last inserted text use <c-a> –  Peter Rincker Sep 26 '11 at 14:13
    
Sorry - but what is <c-a> because CTRL-a didn't work for me ... –  Felipe Alvarez Jun 20 at 6:10
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