Haven't been able to figure this out...

So I usually like to select a word (say, albatross) and copy it to a register using v i w y, which–as I understand it–copies it into the * register.

Then I want to paste it back over another word (sparrow), so I'll do v i w p.

But often I'll want to paste the original word (albatross) over yet another word (osprey), but when I try to repeat my past commands, the pasted value comes out as sparrow, not albatross. This, I know, is because when the text is deleted before being pasted, it's copied into the * register, overwriting albatross with sparrow.

I thought I could work around this by using named registers, so I tried copying with v i w " 1 y and pasting with v i w " 1 p, but that just reproduces my original problem with the * register using the "1 register.

To all you VIM ninjas out there, what am I doing wrong? I'd like to be able to quickly yank some arbitrary text (preferably using the * register, as it saves me two keystrokes) and paste that original value n times afterwards at any point in the document.

How is something like this done efficiently?


You should use the "a to "z (named) registers, instead of the numbered registers, which stores previous deletes automatically.

  • Ahh, thanks; I didn't realize there was a difference between numbered and named registers.
    – neezer
    May 3 '12 at 18:10
  • Btw, :registers gives you the contents of all registers, can be helpful.
    – Bernhard
    May 3 '12 at 18:27

The 0 register holds the last text yanked, so once you yank some text, you should be able to paste it over and over again with "0p. For more about this, see

:help quote0
  • Also helpful, but "a is easier to type than "0. :)
    – neezer
    May 3 '12 at 18:10
  • Yeah, but with "a you also have to yank to "a, whereas with "0 you can just yank to the default register.
    – garyjohn
    May 3 '12 at 18:13
  • Very true, but it's less muscle-memory training for me to navigate "a for two extra keystrokes than it is to reach up to "0 even once. Still, useful info. Thanks!
    – neezer
    May 3 '12 at 18:24
  • @garyjohn great tip, didn't know that.
    – tidbeck
    May 4 '12 at 7:47

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