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intermediate Tip #329: A map for swapping words

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created:   September 20, 2002 9:27      complexity:   intermediate
author:   Chip Campbell, Arun Easi, Benji Fisher      as of Vim:   6.0

Put the following map into your <.vimrc>:

  nmap <silent> gw "_yiw:s/\(\%#\w\+\)\(\W\+\)\(\w\+\)/\3\2\1/<cr><c-o><c-l>

Then when you put the cursor on or in a word, press "gw", and
the word will be swapped with the next word.  The words may
even be separated by punctuation (such as "abc = def").

While we're talking swapping, here's a map for swapping characters:

  nmap <silent> gc    xph

This hint was formed in a collaboration between
Chip Campbell - Arun Easi - Benji Fisher

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Additional Notes

cec@NgrOyphSon.gPsfAc.nMasa.gov, September 20, 2002 11:08
Thought I'd mention some of the reasoning behind the gw-map above.  Sequences such as  dawelp suffer from one or more problems:

* fencepost problems: they don't work correctly either at the beginning of a line
  or at the end of a line

* single-character-word problems: mappings using b, e, or variants don't handle
  single-character words properly.
jean upfrontsystems co za, October 5, 2002 11:03
Looks like this doesn't swap "this" and "that" when line 2 starts with "that", and line 1 ends on "this";
that is a problem for another day :)

Just possibly Vim's newline-matching regexps will be able to cope with this .. but it's probably going
too far.
cec@NgrOyphSon.gPsfAc.nMasa.gov, December 2, 2002 7:42
Making vim handle word swapping across a newline is
fairly straightforward:

nmap <silent> gw    "_yiw:s/\(\%#\w\+\)\(\_W\+\)\(\w\+\)/\3\2\1/<cr><c-o><c-l>

Just one extra underscore (at a suitable location, of course :) .
cec@NgrOyphSon.gPsfAc.nMasa.gov, September 9, 2003 6:48
A map for swapping paragraphs:

   nnoremap g{  {dap}p{

A pair of maps for swapping a word to-the-left and to-the-right:

    nnoremap <silent> gl

    nnoremap <silent> gr
cec@NgrOyphSon.gPsfAc.nMasa.gov, November 7, 2003 8:47
A plugin for visual-mode based swapping is now available at

     under "Visual Mode Based Swapping"

* Use a visual mode to select some text (V, v, or ctrl-v), then press <ctrl-y>
* Use a visual mode to select alternate text, then press <ctrl-x>

The two text regions will then be swapped.

NdrOchip@ScampbellPfamily.AbizM - NOSPAM, October 25, 2004 11:43
The url in the tip-note above should now be:
NdrOchip@ScampbellPfamily.AbizM - NOSPAM, October 25, 2004 11:44
The url in the tip-note above should now be:
Anonymous, October 23, 2006 11:15
This doesn't work for me if the words have accented characters (Vim 7.0).
NdrOchip@ScampbellPfamily.AbizM - NOSPAM, January 25, 2007 6:47
To extend the swapping to include glyphs other than [0-9A-Za-z_], which is what \w means (see :help /\w), then instead of \w and \W, use [glyphs you want here]  for \w and  [^glyphs you want here] for \W.
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