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3 Vim tips with external commands — First published in issue #95

3 Vim tips with external commands

Vim has this ! special character that will run any shell command without having to close it. Here are 3 ways I often use it:

1. Format a JSON blob:

:%!python -m json.tool

2. Count number of characters in a file:

:! wc -c %

3. Load a directory listing:

:r ! ls -1 /my/dir

The possibilities are virtually unlimited. Remember % will be replaced with the current filename, and :r (:read) will copy the output of what follows into the current file.

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