I'm messing around with vim one liners, and I'm unable to escape a . character in a vim ex mode append command.


vim -En '+a|Hello World' '+p' '+q!' -

prints "Hello World"


vim -En '+a|.' '+p' '+q!' -

prints nothing at all. The . on a line by itself ends the append command, so I can't print it.

This unfortunately means I can't write a vim -E command script allowing me to chain commands. I want something like this, where the first vim call constructs the Ex commands, and the second interprets them

vim -En '+a|aConvoluted Hello World
' | vim -En

But the first call fails: everything from the . on is ignored.

Any way to escape the dot? (It's a bit of a code golf, so it's all got to be vim only)

Golf rules for those who are interested:

No characters from the set b,c,d,e,f,k,p,r,s,t,{,},$,&,;,/,:,@,#,,,(,),<,>,! All uppercase characters are allowed.

  • did you try \. ?
    – Jeff Schaller
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 21:45
  • Fraid so :(. You have to drop the single quotes and escape the pipe or bash goes crazy, but vim still doesn't care. +a\|\. prints nothing, +a\|\\. prints \.
    – dhakim
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 22:24

1 Answer 1


This may be a bit contrived but it outputs a single period for me:

vim -En '+a|.x' '+s/x//' '+p' '+q!' -

(You mentioned golf so maybe this won't work for you since it adds a relatively large number of characters. Be sure to detail any specific constraints if you have any.)

  • This is a good one, adds a letter then removes it. If there's a cleaner way to remove letters, it might satisfy the rules I'm under.
    – dhakim
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 5:05

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