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created 2003 · complexity basic · author Siegfried Bublitz · version 5.7

Sometimes I am forced to enter text into MS Word. I often prefer to create the text in Vim, then paste it into Word. However, Word expects each paragraph to end with a newline, with no newlines in the para.

So I created a mapping that deletes all single newlines from a selected area but keeps multiple ones. Here it is:

vmap <C-C> "+y:let @+ = substitute(@+, "\n\n\n*", "±", "g")
 \\|:let @+ = substitute(@+, "\n", " ", "g")<CR>
 \\|:let @+ = substitute(@+, "±", "\\n", "g")<CR>

This is what it does:

Copy the visual area into the selection register +, subsitute two and more newlines but a strange symbol hopefully not contained in the area (±), substitute single newlines by a blank and resubstitute the strange symbol by one newline, then go back to the beginning of the selected area.

If you select now text in Vim with V, it is copied with <Ctrl-C> as described and can be pasted normally into another application.


Here's another way:

Step 1: Set the text width to a very large number; the number should be bigger than the number of characters in any para. For example:

:set tw=9999

Step 2: Reformat the entire text with the gq command, for example, by using the series of commands below (the first three commands below select the text, the last formats it):


To copy to MS-Word, one can do the following:


The preceding copies the text into the clipboard. Then go to Word and paste using "Ctrl-v".

Yet another way:


This works with every vi.


  • Can all of above be replaced with Tim's amazing command (below)?
  • Surely that "Ctrl-q" in comment should just be V? ggVG
  • While gg"*yG works on Windows, it should be gg"+yG
  • Rename tip, maybe "Convert multi-line paragraphs to single line"?
:v/^\s*$/norm vipJ