Changing regex delimiters


Pattern matching and substitution with regular expressions is a commonly used Vim feature. We’ve written a lot about substitution and pattern matching in the past.

Typically, when performing a substitution, you would use the :s command followed by a regular expression that’s delimited by slashes / and followed by any flags, such as g to replace all occurrences on the line. For example:


But did you know that the regular expression delimiter can be anything and is not limited to /? This command is equivalent:


Whatever character you use after the s is considered the delimiter. You can use almost any character except \, ", or |. Why would you care to use a different delimiter? Because then you don’t need to escape the slash.. For example, replacing a file path: Instead of:


You can use # as your delimiter and skip escaping the / which makes for something far easier to parse:


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Written by

Colin Bartlett

105 Posts

Vim enthusiast and software developer for more than 20 years.
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