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Tip: #95 - Capture ex command output

Created: August 7, 2001 10:56 Complexity: intermediate Author: Anonymous Version: 6.0 Karma: 88/31 Imported from: Tip#95

This is a *request* for a tip. I need to be able to pipe the output of a :blah ex command into the vim text buffer for editing. I wanted to do this many times for different reasons and could never find a way!

I would just love to be able to do :hi --> textBuffer and examine the output at my own leasure scrolling up and down and using vim search commands on it. Same thing for :set all, and other things. Considering that cut and paste is horrible in windows, I can't for example do :set guioptions? then cut and paste! So I have to retype it, or cut and paste from the help manual. I really want to be able to pipe the output of ex commands into the text buffer. Can someone help me?


You can use the :redir command to redirect the output of an ex command to a register and then paste the contents of the register into a Vim buffer. For example:

redir --AT--a
set all
redir END

Now, register 'a' will have the output of the "set all" ex command. You can paste this into a Vim buffer. You can also write a Vim function to do the above.

For more information, read :help redir

Yegappan , August 7, 2001 11:45

Wow!!! That's awesome!! Exactly what I want!

Anonymous , August 7, 2001 14:13

This may be obvious to experts, but it took me a very long time to figure it out, because Google searches on terms like 'pipe', 'buffer', 'shell', etc never brought it to my attention. However, you can pipe the contents of the file currently being edited (the current buffer) to a shell command, and replace the current file/buffer with the _output_ of that command, using this:

%! [cmd]

ie, if you didn't know the :retab command (as for a long time I didn't), you could expand tabs using basic unix commands like ":%! expand -t 4". Wish I'd known this a long time ago, so I'm posting it here in the hopes that others might find it :-) , July 25, 2002 11:28

The answer is (for ex.):

read !ls ~

and :help :read for more info :-) , February 18, 2004 14:01

Thanks Anonymous and Yegappan, I've long wanted to do this too, but never known how. Great initiative Anonymous!

Grateful , September 27, 2004 12:10

Here's a function that pipes the output of a command into a new tab (Vim 7.0):

function! TabMessage(cmd)

redir => message 
silent execute a:cmd 
redir END 
silent put=message 
set nomodified 

endfunction command! -nargs=+ -complete=command TabMessage call TabMessage(<q-args>)

Example usage:

TabMessage highlight

Another alternative is to use Dredir function in the Decho script,

Anonymous , September 27, 2006 3:16

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