I sometimes need to write an ASCII line (hr) quickly, like ----------, here are two ways I do it in Vim.

I sometimes will separate blocks of code with a comment like:

// ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

To do that quickly in Vim, I will press:

  • i to enter Insert Mode
  • /, /, space to type out //
  • Esc to exit Insert Mode
  • A, -, Esc append - to the end of the line, 75 times

You can also use o instead of A to use this trick with lines instead of characters, i.e. 5o- [ ] task, Esc would use o 5 times to write a new line below the cursor with - [ ] task.

When I want the line to be exactly as wide as the line above/below, like with a Markdown header or table:


Here, when I have my cursor on the “Header” line, I press:

  • yyp yank and paste the line below
  • j move down to the newly pasted “Header” line
  • V visually select the entire 2nd “Header” line
  • r replace the entire line with…
  • = the = character

I’ll also use this with Markdown tables, and do something like:

| Num | Header 1 | Another Long Cell |
  • yypjVr- copy and paste the header row, move down to it, visually select the new line, replace with all - characters
  • k move back up to the header row
  • 0 move the cursor all the way left
  • j move back down to the first -
  • r| replace with a | character
  • l move right one character to the 2nd -
  • r<space> replace with a single ` ` character
  • k move back up to header row
  • f| move to next | character

From here, I’ll rinse and repeat until the table looks like:

| Num | Header 1 | Another Long Cell |
| --- | -------- | ----------------- |

Happy lining!