Copy from above or below

4.6
(58)

Here’s a quick tip that I often forget but that comes in handy now and again. While in insert mode, you can copy from the line above with <ctrl-y>. This will insert the character directly above the cursor. Or you can use <ctrl-e> to insert the character from the line below the cursor.

  • <ctrl-y> – While in insert mode, copies the character from the line above.
  • <ctrl-e> – While in insert mode, copies the character from the line below.

And you can just hold down either one to copy continuously from the line above or below. There’s a video below showing this in action.

You can see that for portions of my text entry I want exactly what is below or above. Of course, I could have used yy to yank the line and p to paste in order to duplicate and then edit. But maybe I forgot, or maybe the line was mostly different and it was easier to start from scratch. Either way, I can just tap <ctrl-y> to copy from above or <ctrl-e> to copy from below.

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Written by

Colin Bartlett

81 Posts

Vim enthusiast and software developer for more than 20 years.
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