How can I select a bunch of text and comment it all out?

Currently I go to the first line, go to insert mode then type # left-arrowdown-arrow and then I repeat that sequence, perhaps saving a few keystrokes by using the . repeat feature to do each line.

Is there anyway I could (for instance) select either multiple lines in visual mode or by using a range of lines and an ex ('colon') command and for that range comment out all the lines with a # to make them a "block comment".

The ability to quickly 'de-comment' (remove the #'s) for a block comment would also be nice.


6 Answers 6


Visual Block Mode

  • First, move the cursor to the first char of the first line in block code you want to comment, then type Ctrl + v.

    Then vim will go into VISUAL BLOCK mode.

  • Use j to move the cursor down until you reach the last line of your code block. Then type: Shift + i

  • Now vim goes to INSERT mode and the cursor is at the first char of the first line. Finally, type # then ESC and the code block is now commented.

Note that at first sight, the editing does not seem to differ from changing a single line. The changes will only be applied to the whole block after hitting ESC.

To uncomment, do the same things but instead of type Shift + i, you just type x to remove all # after highlight them in VISUAL BLOCK mode.

  • 3
    Or even use / to jump to the endpoint, or % if the endpoint is a matching } (or { if jumping backwards). I like the visual modes so much more than specifying ranges...
    – Izkata
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 18:55
  • 38
    Doesn't seem to work. +1 for visual mode, -1 because Shift I opens an INSERT only on the first line of the selection. Could just be an OSX issue though, as it's VERY common with this OS that is completely inconsistent with Unix.
    – Matt Clark
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 20:32
  • 22
    @MattClark: You tried it, didn't you? That how it suppose to work. After editing the first line, press ESC to quit insert mode, everything was applied to the rest of selected line.
    – cuonglm
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 2:39
  • 22
    Works with MacVim. Important to note that it only works with VISUAL BLOCK, not VISUAL or VISUAL LINE mode. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 9:58
  • 10
    read the comment from @MattClark: "+1 for visual mode" and then he states it does not work on his machine (OSX). I tried it on OSX with macvim and it works, but you've got to use visual block, not visual (nor visual line). Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 10:32


You can do it with the following commands:

for commenting:


for uncommenting:


Obviously, here we're commenting lines from 66 to 70 (inclusive).

  • 2
    Are you sure you don't need insert an 's' after the range?
    – lfree
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 7:51
  • Maybe on your vim version but I'm sure of it, "s" stands from "substitution" /^ begining of the line by /# (hash). No mistery here. Commented May 29, 2017 at 13:40
  • 2
    if you want to comment // instead of # need to escape them with \. :66,70s/^/\/\/ Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 17:51
  • one can refer this link multiple methods are mentioned here by author for comment
    – Vino
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 14:20


For the sake of completeness here's another way:

  1. Enter visual mode by pressing v
  2. select the lines you like to comment (up/down arrow or j/k)
  3. enter :s/^/# / which translates to: in selection (:) replace beginning of line (^) with `# '
  • This was the only version that worked for me. The SHIFT+i, then #, then ESC never did. Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 20:34
  • pasting the : did not work, I had to type it. pasting the rest (in my case s/^/#/) did work then Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 8:42


The following steps are done in command mode:

  1. go to first line and set the marker with mt
  2. go to the line till which you want range
  3. issue the command :'t,.s/^/#/


  • m#, where # denotes any letter, puts a marker at your current location. The location can later be referred to using '#, where # is the same letter as before. In our case we used the letter t
  • The command :'t,.s/^/#/ reads as follows:
    • : the prefix for complex commands
    • 't,. defines the range at which the following command should apply. In our case, it is from marker 't till current line .
    • s/^/#/ is a substitution formula, replacing all beginning-of-line ^ with literal character #


There is a plugin, which offers an efficient way of commenting out based on the file system being used.

Also, this answer discusses how to use the NERD commenter for vim. Few more basic instructions on how to use the plugin are discussed here.


Use either NERDCommenter as mentioned, but if that's not available to me I use the visual modes. I go into Visual Line mode, make my selection, often its blocks of whitespace, so I go V{ then change to Visual Block mode with Ctrl+Q and then insert the comment symbol at the start of the lines with I, so to comment out a block of text, I'd do


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