Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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

I spend most of my time on Windows 8 and use gvim -c as a sed replacement. I think I can get sed with Cygwin, but I hope that I can do this with gvim -c.

I have a directory of tab-delimited .txt files, and some have a header (as follows) that I want to remove.

Definition of the Ultimate Owner :                                                                                                                                                  
- minimum percentage that must characterize the path from a subject company up to its Ultimate owner : 25.01%                                                                                                                                                   
- At least one of its shareholders must be known and it cannot own more than 25.01%                                                                                                                                                 

Mark     Company name ... 

To remove the header in a gvim session I would use d/^Mark, then :wq. But I have hundreds of these, so I would like to use gvim -c and argdo. I do this a lot with s//, say something like gvim -c "argdo %s/foo/bar/ge | wq" *.tex.

My first thought was gvim -c "d/^Mark | wq" *.txt, but this doesn't work because / isn't an ex command.

Is there an ex equivalent of d/^Mark that I can use with gvim -c and argdo?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You want the :d[elete] command, prepended with a range:


Ranges are not limited to absolute line numbers: search can be used too:


deletes all the lines between line 1 and the first line containing bar.

The following command deletes every line between line 1 and the line above the first line starting with bar:


Assuming you don't pass other commands before that could move the cursor, we can cut out a couple of characters:

  • the current line is assumed if the first part of the range is missing, since we open a new buffer and we didn't move the cursor we can remove the 1,

  • the default offset for - is 1, since that's the offset we use we can leave the last 1 out too. The command becomes:


Built from the bricks above, the following command should work:

$ gvim -c "argdo ,/^Mark/-d | wq" *.txt
share|improve this answer
Thanks for the lesson! This is very helpful. – Richard Herron Aug 3 '13 at 18:33
I found a problem. When Mark is in the first row, first column, this deletes the first row so that I lose the header. Is there a solution for this? Thanks. – Richard Herron Aug 4 '13 at 15:24
My proposed solution works for the snippet in your question. If you want a more generic solution you'll need to write a function that checks for the line number of the first ^Mark and acts accordingly. – romainl Aug 4 '13 at 15:41
Ah, OK, thanks! – Richard Herron Aug 5 '13 at 10:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.