My question is similar to this one: How can I count the number of words in a file whilst editing the file in vim

But with a different task where I have to count characters with the search function in vim and write them at the of the file.

For example, if I have to count how many numeric characters are there, I would need something like this: :%s/[0-9]/{g} and after that a command that counts how many characters I have selected with that search.


I'm trying a method where I first select all the characters that I want to count with /[0-9] and trying to use '<,'> like this: '<,'> !wc -m

2 Answers 2


If I understand you correctly, you can try this:

:redi>>%|%s/\d//gn|redi END
9 matches in 3 lines

After that, update the buffer with

  • And \d is what I want to look for, right?
    – Ge To
    Mar 23, 2021 at 14:18
  • @GeTo Yes, I'm used to the [0-9] pattern, but \d suits better. Mar 23, 2021 at 14:20
  • I see, it was not updating the display then. But how can I display only the integer of the matches?
    – Ge To
    Mar 23, 2021 at 14:25

While the other answer is ok, what I wanted is simply the count of the characters written out.

This can be achieved by pipelining grep and wc:

:%!grep -o '[0-9]' | wc -l
  • You can accept your own answer... I think you have to wait a couple of days :) Mar 23, 2021 at 18:38
  • If you don't want to replace the contents of the editing buffer with the output of wc, use :!grep -o '[0-9]' % | wc -l instead. (% is replaced by the current buffer's filename).
    – Kusalananda
    Mar 30, 2021 at 16:04
  • And if I want to append it to the end of the file: :% !grep -o '[0-9]' | wc -l >> *file* where *file* is the file I want to append to?
    – Ge To
    Mar 31, 2021 at 12:15

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