I'm trying without success to copy & paste pattern in all lines using a vim let say I've a text file which looks like this:

Hello name is Mishal
Hello name is jon
Hello name is dod
Hello name is joli
Hello name is sara 

I want to copy last pattern or any other pattern in each line and put it back in middle in the same line. so that it looks like:

Hello Mishal name is Mishal
Hello jon name is jon
Hello dod name is dod
Hello joli name is joli
Hello sara name is sara

I know it can do it with other tools such as awk,sed,cut,paste and more but i need to do it with vim

  • You can use substitute: :%s/Hello name is \(.*\)/Hello \1 name is \1/ – pbogut May 3 '17 at 14:08

You can do it with macro. In normal mode type q plus any letter to start macro recording in register a.

Then move your cursor at the beginning of the line and do the following command :



  • So 3w move cursor to 3 word
  • yw copy word in registry
  • ^w go to the first non-blank character then move one word forward (you need to type ^ twice in order to make it works.
  • P paste word in current register before the cursor
  • a space add a space after last word

Then type q to stop recording macro. Get to beginning of the line then execute macro in register "a" @a and/or @@ to execute last macro.

I'm sure there is more elegant way to do this, but this one work pretty well.

  • This is very useful, but doesn't work, the words I need to copy/paste contain charters like - , # and some read it as word number 33 and other read it as 30 like that, cannot done will all lines – user3716621 Apr 21 '17 at 15:07
  • Still pretty clever. Upvote. – SDsolar Apr 21 '17 at 18:00
  • Go beyond simple word commands @user3716621. Use $ to get to the end of a line. Then 'vT y' as in 'visual To (space) yank-selection' (uppercase is reverse search) to highlight the final word back to the preceding space and yank it. Then navigate to where you want it and paste it in. – Shadoath Apr 21 '17 at 22:57

Try awk "as an external command" like this:

:%!awk '{print $1,$NF,$2,$3,$NF}'

 % ................... current file
 ! ................... filter
 $NF ................. last field on awk

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