On Linux, editing file_B in vim I want to add line 10-25 from file_A. Example: One has a whole set of HTML-Documents with quite the same header and yes, one could create a template and start from there, but still:

I am looking for a simple [and elegant] way to insert a range of lines from one file and add it to the file I am currently editing. In vim.

The solutions I found so far but are not exactly what I'm looking for, are

  • inside file_B the command :read file_A will add *the whole file_A* into file_B. Too much
  • there is copy&paste inside vim – but for this one must have opened file_A
  • inside file_A :10,25w! file_B will 'send' the given range of lines to file_B.
    This seems quite close to copy&paste
  • one can open multiple windows in vim
    But as I work on an 8inch screen, multiple windows make orientation hard

As I wasn't able to find a comfortable solution I wonder if I just misunderstood something or the ways I found so far are commonly used and taken as the standard way.

  • See this SO question, @Bernhard's answer was the accepted answer to that question over there too!
    – slm
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 12:41
  • @slm I was aware of this answer, but as I didn't put it into the list of solutions I found, thank you for the hint. I am still looking for something built within vim. But this seems out of reach. And I really wonder if this only achievable through outside commands, because as far as I got with vim now, I came to little restrictions up to here.
    – erch
    Commented Apr 20, 2013 at 15:03
  • @cellar.dweller You could make some kind of function out of it, if you really want something easier.
    – Bernhard
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


Best solution I can come up with, is to externally call sed and combine that with :read !

:r !sed -n -e '10,25p' fileB
  • Doesn't work here - but why? First, thank you for your help. What I get is 'E34: no previous command' [roughly translated] as if vim tries to repeat a command. As far I understand it, step by step: :r is short for read in vim. I have no knowledge about sed and how to use it. Of course, I replaced fileB with the actual file :)
    – erch
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 19:30
  • @cellar.dweller My answer was updated by some-one, I got the same error by that code. I back-rolled it. See if this works for you.
    – Bernhard
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 19:51
  • @Stephane Good to shorten answers, but your suggestion didn't work.
    – Bernhard
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 19:52
  • Now it works! To add a little myslef: starting with :10r etc. will place the content from line ten on [as long as this exists]. Works like a charm now. Great. Thanks a lot!
    – erch
    Commented Apr 21, 2013 at 20:09
  • 4
    Oops, sorry. Forgot about vim's expansion of !. Should have been :r!sed 10,25\!d. Note that you don't need the -e or the quotes, so you can write it :r!sed -n 10,25p for short as well. :r sed '10,$\!d;25q' to avoid reading the whole file. Commented Apr 22, 2013 at 6:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .