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Tags: vim multi-line github.com
Clipped on: 2018-07-14
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There have been many attempts at bringing Sublime Text's awesome multiple selection feature into Vim, but none so far have been in my opinion a faithful port that is simplistic to use, yet powerful and intuitive enough for an existing Vim user. vim-multiple-cursors is yet another attempt at that.

It's great for quick refactoring

Image (Asset 2/8) alt= For instance: c, s, I, A work without any issues.
You could also go to normal mode by pressing v and use normal commands there.

At any time, you can press <Esc> to exit back to regular Vim.

NOTE: start with g<C-n> to match without boundaries (behaves like g* instead of *)

visual mode when multiple lines are selected

  • start: <C-n> add virtual cursors on each line

You can now change the virtual cursors with normal mode commands.
For instance: ciw.


The command MultipleCursorsFind accepts a range and a pattern (regexp), it creates a visual cursor at the end of each match.
If no range is passed in, then it defaults to the entire buffer.


If you don't like the plugin taking over your key bindings, you can turn it off and reassign them the way you want:

let g:multi_cursor_use_default_mapping=0

" Default mapping
let g:multi_cursor_start_word_key      = '<C-n>'
let g:multi_cursor_select_all_word_key = '<A-n>'
let g:multi_cursor_start_key           = 'g<C-n>'
let g:multi_cursor_select_all_key      = 'g<A-n>'
let g:multi_cursor_next_key            = '<C-n>'
let g:multi_cursor_prev_key            = '<C-p>'
let g:multi_cursor_skip_key            = '<C-x>'
let g:multi_cursor_quit_key            = '<Esc>'

NOTE: Please make sure to always map something to g:multi_cursor_quit_key, otherwise you'll have a tough time quitting from multicursor mode.


Currently there are four additional global settings one can tweak:

g:multi_cursor_exit_from_visual_mode (Default: 1)

If set to 0, then pressing g:multi_cursor_quit_key in Visual mode will not quit and delete all existing cursors.
Useful if you want to go back to Normal mode, and still be able to operate on all the cursors.

g:multi_cursor_exit_from_insert_mode (Default: 1)

If set to 0, then pressing g:multi_cursor_quit_key in Insert mode will not quit and delete all existing cursors.
Useful if you want to go back to Normal mode, and still be able to operate on all the cursors.

g:multi_cursor_normal_maps (Default: see below)

{'@': 1, 'F': 1, 'T': 1, '[': 1, '\': 1, ']': 1, '!': 1, '"': 1, 'c': 1, 'd': 1, 'f': 1, 'g': 1, 'm': 1, 'q': 1, 'r': 1, 't': 1, 'y': 1, 'z': 1, '<': 1, '=': 1, '>': 1}

Any key in this map (values are ignored) will cause multi-cursor Normal mode to pause for map completion just like normal vim. Otherwise keys mapped in normal mode will "fail to replay" when multiple cursors are active.
For example: {'d':1} makes normal-mode command dw work in multi-cursor mode.

The default list contents should work for anybody, unless they have remapped a key from an operator-pending command to a non-operator-pending command or vice versa.

These keys must be manually listed because vim doesn't provide a way to automatically see which keys start mappings, and trying to run motion commands such as j as if they were operator-pending commands can break things.

g:multi_cursor_visual_maps (Default: see below)

{'T': 1, 'a': 1, 't': 1, 'F': 1, 'f': 1, 'i': 1}

Same principle as g:multi_cursor_normal_maps

Interactions with other plugins

Multiple_cursors_before/Multiple_cursors_after (Default: nothing)

Other plugins may be incompatible in insert mode.
That is why we provide hooks to disable those plug-ins when vim-multiple-cursors is active:

For example, if you are using Neocomplete, add this to your vimrc to prevent conflict:

function! Multiple_cursors_before()
  if exists(':NeoCompleteLock')==2
    exe 'NeoCompleteLock'

function! Multiple_cursors_after()
  if exists(':NeoCompleteUnlock')==2
    exe 'NeoCompleteUnlock'

Plugins themselves can register User autocommands on MultipleCursorsPre and MultipleCursorsPost for automatic integration.


The plugin uses the highlight group multiple_cursors_cursor and multiple_cursors_visual to highlight the virtual cursors and their visual selections respectively. You can customize them by putting something similar like the following in your vimrc:

" Default highlighting (see help :highlight and help :highlight-link)
highlight multiple_cursors_cursor term=reverse cterm=reverse gui=reverse
highlight link multiple_cursors_visual Visual


Q ALT+n doesn't seem to work in VIM but works in gVIM, why?

A This is a well known terminal/Vim issue, different terminal have different ways to send Alt+key.
Try adding this in your .vimrc and make sure to replace the string:

if !has('gui_running')
  map "in Insert mode, type Ctrl+v Alt+n here" <A-n>

Or remap the following:


Q CTRL+n doesn't seem to work in gVIM?

A Try setting set selection=inclusive in your ~/.gvimrc

Q is it also working on Mac?

A On Mac OS, MacVim is known to work.

Q How can I select n keywords with several keystrokes? 200<C-n> does not work.

A You can use :MultipleCursorsFind keyword. I have this binding in my vimrc:

nnoremap <silent> <M-j> :MultipleCursorsFind <C-R>/<CR>
vnoremap <silent> <M-j> :MultipleCursorsFind <C-R>/<CR>

This allows one to search for the keyword using * and turn search results into cursors with Alt-j.


Patches and suggestions are always welcome! A list of open feature requests can be found here.

Issue Creation

Contributor's time is precious and limited. Please ensure it meets the requirements outlined in CONTRIBUTING.md.

Pull Requests

Running the test suite requires ruby and rake as well as vim of course. Before submitting PR, please ensure the checks are passing:

cd vim-multiple-cursors/spec/
bundle exec rake


This is a community supported project. Here is the list of all the Contributors


Obviously inspired by Sublime Text's multiple selection feature, also encouraged by Emac's multiple cursors implementation by Magnar Sveen

Press h to open a hovercard with more details.