Edit files sequentially


We’ve published a few tips about the args list, a way to load a list of files into Vim to operate off of as a set. One tip I use often myself is Open all files in a directory, which splits all the files in a directory on my screen at once using the args list. The ability to see a set of files simultaneously on my screen and compare and edit them all at once is extremely useful in my everyday software engineer life.

But I recently discovered another neat trick that will also earn a spot in my regular rotation: write and next:

  • :wn – Write the file and move to the next file in the args list

To use this, simply first load a list of files into the args list. One way to do that is with a file glob:

:args path/to/file/*.ext

The first file in the list will automatically open. Perform your edits and then invoke :wn. Upon writing, Vim will open the next file from the args list. In this way, you can work through the entire list very quickly.

Here’s a short video where I demonstrate this in action. First I load the args list with all the files in the _posts directory using :args _/posts/*. Next, I edit the first file and use :wn. The file is saved and I’m taken to the next file in the directory automatically. I can repeat until the end of the list.

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Written by

Colin Bartlett

105 Posts

Vim enthusiast and software developer for more than 20 years.
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