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SearchHighlighting : Highlighting of searches via star, auto-highlighting.

 script karma  Rating 40/12, Downloaded by 2977  Comments, bugs, improvements  Vim wiki

created by
Ingo Karkat
script type
This plugin changes the star command *, so that it doesn't jump to the next
match. (Unless you supply a [count], so 1* now restores the old * behavior.)
If you issue a star command on the same text as before, the search
highlighting is turned off (via :nohlsearch); the search pattern remains
set, so a n / N command will turn highlighting on again. With this, you
can easily toggle highlighting for the current word / visual selection.

With the disabling of the jump to the next match, there is no difference
between * and # any more, so the # key can now be used for some other mapping.

This plugin also extends the star command to visual mode, where instead of
the current word, the selected text is used as the literal search pattern.

The auto-search functionality instantly highlights the word under the cursor
when typing or moving around. This can be helpful while browsing source code;
whenever you position the cursor on an identifier, all other occurrences are
instantly highlighted. This functionality is toggled on/off via <Leader>*. You
can also :nohlsearch to temporarily disable the highlighting.

- mark.vim (vimscript #2666) can highlight several patterns in different
  colors simultaneously.
- SearchAlternatives.vim (vimscript #4146) can add and subtract search
  alternatives via mappings and commands.
- To also show the number of matches when selecting a word (*, g* etc.),
  you can append the corresponding command to the <Plug> mapping (see
    nmap <silent> * <Plug>SearchHighlightingStar:%s///gn<CR>
The SearchPosition.vim plugin (vimscript #2634) provides an extended
  version of that command.

I came up with this on my own; however, the idea can be traced back to
francoissteinmetz and da.thompson in the comments of vimtip #1 (now at
    map <silent> <F10> :set invhls<CR>:let @/="<C-r><C-w>"<CR>

- highlight_word_under_cursor.vim (vimscript #4287) implements the search
  auto-highlighting of the whole and optionally current word.
- HiCursorWords (vimscript #4306) highlights the word under the cursor, with
  optional delay and limited to certain syntax groups.
- Matchmaker (https://github.com/qstrahl/vim-matchmaker) highlights the word
  under the cursor with matchadd(), not the current search pattern.
- star search (vimscript #4335) changes the behavior of * to not jump to the
  next match, and includes the visual search from the next plugin
- https://github.com/bronson/vim-visual-star-search provides searching of the
  visual selection
- visualstar.vim (vimscript #2944) provides searching of the visual selection
- select & search (vimscript #4819) can use either n/N or * in the visual
  selection, and (like this plugin) can avoid jumping.
- vim-cursorword (vimscript #5100) automatically underlines the current word
  in the current window (like :SearchAutoHighlighting), but uses :match
  instead of search
- vim-asterisk (vimscript #5059) is quite similar, providing a z* mapping that
  also doesn't jump, visual *, more intuitive smartcase handling, and can keep
  the cursor position when jumping (like ,*)
- searchant.vim (vimscript #5404) hooks into the built-in search commands and
  provides a separate highlighting for the match last jumped to.

*                       Toggle search highlighting for the current whole
                        \<word\> on/off.
g*                      Toggle search highlighting for the current word

{Visual}*               Toggle search highlighting for the selection on/off.
                        For a blockwise-visual selection, not just lines
                        that match the block's lines on their own are matched,
                        but all occurrences that contain the block's text,
                        though not just with the same vertical alignment (that
                        isn't possible to assert with Vim's regular
                        expressions), and only the first line's match is
                        highlighted. For example, a match on
                        will also match all three occurrences in
                            foo    my foo is        tell foo
                            bar    inside bar               bar
                        but not a single

[count]*                Search forward for the [count]'th occurrence of the
[count]g*               word nearest to the cursor.

ALT-8                   Toggle search highlighting for the current whole
                        \_sWORD\_s on/off. With [count]: Search forward for the
                        [count]'th occurrence.
g_ALT-8                 Toggle search highlighting for the current WORD
                        on/off. With [count]: Search forward for the
                        [count]'th occurrence.

[count],*               Search forward for the [count]'th occurrence of the
                        word under the cursor, keeping the cursor at the
                        current position within the word's matches (via
                        Observes the new non-jumping behavior of the star
                        commands without a [count].
[count],g*              Like above: variants of the searches that keep the
,_ALT-8                 cursor at the current relative match position.
,g_ALT-8                Note that if you have set mapleader to ",", some of
                        these would conflict with other plugin mappings; you
                        have to define|SearchHighlighting-configuration|

[count],n               Repeat the latest "/" search [count] times, keeping
                        the cursor at the current position relative to the end
                        of the current match (via search-offset).
                        Like ,star, but reuses the last search pattern
                        instead of searching for the word under the cursor.
                        As such, the cursor can also be outside a match (but
                        still within the same line), and a corresponding
                        offset (the smallest possible if there are several
                        nearby matches) is chosen.
[count],N               Repeat the latest "?" search [count] times, keeping
                        the cursor at the current position relative to the
                        start of the current match (via search-offset).
                        Note: To avoid another set of mappings, the search
                        direction and offset anchor (start or end of match)
                        are combined here. The search direction can easily be
                        reverted via n|/|N, anyway.

<Leader>*               Toggle auto-search highlighting (using the last
                        {what}; default is "wword").
{Visual}<Leader>*       Toggle auto-search highlighting; when turning on, a
                        {what} value of "selection" is used (but the preset
                        isn't changed; the original value is used for a later
                        non-visual mode auto-search).

:SearchAutoHighlighting [{what}]
                        Turn on automatic highlighting of occurrences of
                        {what} in normal mode, and the selected text in visual
                        / select mode. Possible values:
                        wword: whole cword, like star; this is the default
                        wWORD: whole cWORD, delimited by whitespace
                        cword: current word under cursor
                        cWORD: current WORD under cursor
                        line:  current text in line, excluding indent and
                               trailing whitespace
                        exactline:  exact current line
                        from-cursor:only consider the text from the beginning
                                    of the line up to the cursor; ignore text
                                    before the cursor
                        to-cursor:  only consider the text from the cursor to
                                    the end of the line
                        selection:  only highlight selected text, in normal
                                    mode, nothing is selected
                        *-iw:       allow for variations in whitespace (also
                                    newline characters, i.e. allow a match
                                    distributed over multiple lines), and
                                    ignore any comment prefixes (e.g. /*, #),
                        *-nw:       allow for variations in whitespace and also
                                    direct concatenation of lines (i.e. without
                                    any whitespace in between)

                        Turn off automatic highlighting. With [!], also turn
                        off all tab page- and window-local ones.

:SearchAutoHighlightingWinLocal [{what}]
:SearchAutoHighlightingTabLocal [{what}]
                        Like :SearchAutoHighlighting, but limit the effect
                        to the current window / tab page. Different {what}
                        occurrences can be configured for each instance.

                        Like :NoSearchAutoHighlighting, but only for the
                        current window / tab page. With [!], it explicitly
                        turns off Auto Search (even if a higher scope still
                        has it active), without it, it will still consider the
                        higher scopes.
install details
The code is hosted in a Git repo at
You can use your favorite plugin manager, or "git clone" into a directory used
for Vim packages. Releases are on the "stable" branch, the latest unstable
development snapshot on "master".

This script is also packaged as a vimball. If you have the "gunzip"
decompressor in your PATH, simply edit the *.vmb.gz package in Vim; otherwise,
decompress the archive first, e.g. using WinZip. Inside Vim, install by
sourcing the vimball or via the :UseVimball command.
    vim SearchHighlighting*.vmb.gz
    :so %
To uninstall, use the :RmVimball command.

- Requires Vim 7.0 or higher.
- Requires the ingo-library.vim plugin (vimscript #4433), version 1.040 or

If you want to use different mappings, map your keys to the
<Plug>SearchHighlighting... mapping targets _before_ sourcing the script (e.g.
in your vimrc):
    nmap <Leader>&   <Plug>SearchHighlightingWORD
    nmap <Leader>&&  <Plug>SearchHighlightingGWORD
    nmap <Leader>*.  <Plug>SearchHighlightingCStar
    nmap <Leader>**. <Plug>SearchHighlightingCGStar
    nmap <Leader>&.  <Plug>SearchHighlightingCWORD
    nmap <Leader>&&. <Plug>SearchHighlightingCGWORD
    nmap <Leader>**  <Plug>SearchHighlightingAutoSearch

If you do not want the new non-jumping behavior of the star commands at all:
    let g:SearchHighlighting_NoJump = 0
    let g:SearchHighlighting_ExtendStandardCommands = 1

If you want the new non-jumping behavior, but map it to different keys:
    let g:SearchHighlighting_ExtendStandardCommands = 1
    nmap <Leader>*  <Plug>SearchHighlightingStar
    nmap <Leader>g* <Plug>SearchHighlightingGStar
    vmap <Leader>*  <Plug>SearchHighlightingStar

If you want a mapping to turn off hlsearch, use this:
    nmap <A-/> <Plug>SearchHighlightingNohlsearch
    vmap <A-/> <Plug>SearchHighlightingNohlsearch

To toggle hlsearch (temporarily, so that a new search or n command will
automatically re-enable it), use:
    nmap <F12> <Plug>SearchHighlightingToggleHlsearch
    vmap <F12> <Plug>SearchHighlightingToggleHlsearch

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script versions (upload new version)

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package script version date Vim version user release notes
SearchHighlighting-2.10.vmb.gz 2.10 2019-10-31 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Add ,n and ,N variants of ,* that reuse the last search pattern, and therefore also allow offsets outside of the match itself. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.040! ***
SearchHighlighting-2.01.vmb.gz 2.01 2019-07-11 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Add ...-iw / ...-nw variants of exactline, line, selection that match ignoring whitespace differences / and no whitespace.
- Trigger LastSearchPatternChanged User event to notify other plugins (e.g. my SearchRepeat.vim plugin (vimscript #4949)) of the change of register /.
- :SearchAutoHighlighting commands inform the SearchRepeat.vim plugin that the change in register / is automatic, not initiated by the user, so that the current custom search is kept active instead of reverting back to standard search.
- ENH: Add from-cursor and to-cursor (and -iw, -nw variants) for :SearchAutoHighlighting. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.036! ***
SearchHighlighting-2.00.vmb.gz 2.00 2017-01-27 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Allow tab page- and window-local Auto Search Highlighting via new :SearchAutoHighlightingTabLocal, :SearchAutoHighlightingWinLocal commands.
- ENH: Support v:hlsearch (available since Vim 7.4.079) via an alternative set of functions that don't use the s:isSearchOn internal flag.
- BUG: Handle "No string under cursor" for ,* mapping correctly by returing the :echoerr call, not 0.
- BUG: Off-by-one in ,* on second-to-last character.
- ENH: <A-8>, g<A-8> mappings star-like search for [whole] cWORD (instead of cword).
- Generalize the ,* mapping to support all four variants of the * mapping (whole / current, cword, cWORD), too.
- Only define default ,* etc. mappings when the map leader isn't set to ",", which would make it conflict with the <Leader>* Auto-Search mapping. Thanks to Ilya Tumaykin for raising this issue.
- Don't show strange whitespace matches on ":SearchAutoHighlighting wWORD" caused by empty \%(^\|\s\)\zs\ze\%(\s\|$\) pattern. Set completely empty pattern then.
- Re-enable search highlighting when switching to a window that has Auto Search. Clear search highlighting when switching from a window that has Auto Search to one that hasn't, and search highlighting was previously turned off.
- Save and restore the Auto Search pattern from a selection source when updating. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.023! ***
SearchHighlighting-1.22.vmb.gz 1.22 2014-06-19 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Add <Leader>* visual mode mapping that turns on auto-search only for selected text (without affecting the original {what} default).
- Add "selection" value for {what} in :SearchHighlightingAutoSearch that only highlights selected text.
SearchHighlighting-1.21.vmb.gz 1.21 2014-05-23 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Also abort on :SearchAutoHighlighting error.
- Remove duplicate /.*.*/ in pattern for visual blockwise search.
SearchHighlighting-1.20.vmb.gz 1.20 2013-11-29 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Add ,* search that keeps the current position within the current word when jumping to subsequent matches.
- Correctly emulate * behavior on whitespace-only lines where there's no cword: Issue "E348: No string under cursor".
- Add dependency to ingo-library (vimscript #4433). *** You need to separately install ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.015 (or higher)! ***
- For a blockwise visual selection, don't just match the block's lines on their own, but also when contained in other text.
- BUG: For {Visual}*, a [count] isn't considered.
SearchHighlighting-1.02.vmb.gz 1.02 2013-01-21 7.0 Ingo Karkat - For a blockwise visual selection, don't just match the block's lines on their own, but also when contained in other text.
- BUG: For {Visual}*, a [count] isn't considered.
SearchHighlighting-1.01.vmb.gz 1.01 2012-12-03 7.0 Ingo Karkat FIX: Prevent repeated error message when an invalid {what} was given to :SearchAutoHighlighting.
SearchHighlighting-1.00.vmb.gz 1.00 2012-11-23 7.0 Ingo Karkat Initial upload
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