Remove lines matching pattern

4.2
(204)

Yesterday, I was inspecting a log file in Vim. A substantial portion of the lines were unhelpful noise and I wanted to remove them. I could always use grep -v but there must be a way to do this using native Vim tools, right?

There is, of course! Using Vim’s powerful “global” command, :g for short. To remove lines matching a pattern, simply use the /d flag to the command. Here are some examples:

  • :g/pattern/d – Remove lines matching pattern
  • :g!/pattern/d – Remove lines that do NOT match the pattern
  • :v/pattern/d – Also removes lines that do not match the pattern

Here’s a quick gif of this in action. First, I use :g/userId/d to globally delete all the lines that contain “userId”. Then I undo, and use :g!/firstName/d to globally delete all the lines that do NOT contain “firstName”.

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Written by

Colin Bartlett

81 Posts

Vim enthusiast and software developer for more than 20 years.
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