I understand that vi has shortcut keys to delete characters, words and lines with various options.

However, I could not find this:

  • delete from the cursor to the next specified character

For example, I might type du" expecting the editor to "delete until the next " character is found"

The closest I know is d9w where 9 is the number of words to delete.

Does anyone know if this is possible?

  • 4
    If you're interested in Vi and Vim, they have their own SE site now: Vi and Vim
    – dessert
    Jan 9, 2018 at 16:35

8 Answers 8


Use dtc, where c is any character, e.g. for you, you want dt"

This will delete upto but not including c.

If you had:

delete until exclamation point!

And the cursor was at the first space and you typed dt!, you would get:


Also dfc.

This will delete upto and including c.

Using df! on the same example above would give you:


Just about any "motion" can be used for the d, c, y and similar commands.

  • 13
    Presumably the mnemonic is t for "till"? Nice answer.
    – overthink
    Mar 5, 2015 at 17:01
  • 27
    You can also delete to the previous instance of a character with the capitalized version of the movement commands. Maybe more useful for commas -- dT, and dF,. Apr 28, 2015 at 14:53
  • 4
    This doesn't work over multiple lines.
    – 0xcaff
    Dec 29, 2015 at 22:41
  • 4
    Can this be done over a range of lines?
    – Jim
    Aug 3, 2017 at 17:17
  • 3
    For doing something similar over a range of lines, a usual search (as in zpletan's answer) can be performed: d/word searches up to word. It must be followed by enter (to close the search). May 21, 2018 at 11:15
  • To delete forward up to character 'X' type dtX

  • To delete forward through character 'X' type dfX

  • To delete backward up to character 'X' type dTX

  • To delete backward through character 'X' type dFX

  • You can also add a number after the d character to delete through multiple instances. For example with the cursor at column 0 d2f! whould delete forward up through the second instance of the ! character on the line.
    – dcg
    Mar 14, 2022 at 20:39

The input dt# (not a :command, use it like a movement like G)

will delete from the cursor until but not including the #. You can substitute any char for #.

  • 2
    This is the right answer! df# will delete # as well.
    – Viet
    Dec 23, 2014 at 15:30
  • been looking for this, this is awesome Apr 3, 2015 at 7:29

It looks like @Arcege already answered the question, but I did d/l to delete until the character l; other characters would work as well.

  • 3
    This works for stuff across newlines.
    – user255632
    Sep 9, 2016 at 3:11
  • 1
    Note: this must be followed by Enter. May 21, 2018 at 11:13
  • d?l to delete backwards
    – Hipponax43
    Mar 10, 2020 at 16:59

w moves to the following word. l moves to the following charactor.

So it's d9l to delete the next 9 characters.

  • 3
    Close, l is Vim's right arrow key, so you're actually deleting right. Conversely, d9h would delete 9 characters left.
    – Walf
    May 30, 2016 at 2:24

I suggest use delete with pattern,


d is action delete

/ is vim searching sign

for example, the following is a MySQL connection string. I want to change to the password redhat to new one


In command mode , I click w(skip to next word), the cursor move to ":", click w again will move the cursor to first char r of password redhat. now click d/@ will delete the any characters until @ that in this case will remove the redhat. d/@tcp is better if the string has more than one @, the pattern more paticular is more precise.


Nobody mentioned about that so I thought I would share this as well.
If you want to delete until a character you can use dt and type the desired character. If you want to delete until a character but the character is also in the middle for instance (hell(o) world) and you want to delete from hell(o) until the last ) and your cursor is on the h you can type a number, in this case 2dt) this will jump the first ).

You can also use de (delete end), here by "end" you have to think "end of the word (not line)" so if you want to delete for instance .world in (hello.world) and your cursor is on the dot, you can type de.

Hope it helps

  • For your example just use di) to delete inside parenthesis.
    – Miguel
    Oct 29, 2021 at 10:19

You can also do ct" instead of dt" do delete until " and also enter insert mode, that is, dt"i == ct"

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