Removing trailing spaces with vim

Baby Tux

After recently reading about how great VIM is for the three hundredth and fifty second time (I kept count), I decided to take a look.

It really is quite cool! I've also decided to try to log any cool tips I learn about it. Here is the first which I found after running the coder module on one of my modules (Page Title 2) and it threw hundreds of errors about too many trailing spaces on empty lines.

How to clear trailing spaces using VIM

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After a bit of googling, it turned out to be REALLY easy!

:%s=\s\+$==

And thats it!

  • The % tells it to be global - not just the current line.
  • S is a shortcut for substitute.
  • The \s (whitespace) and \+ (at least once) are regular expression terms (the + needs to be escaped, it seems…).
  • The $ (dollar) represents the end of a line.
  • The = are being used as delimiters, the == at the end implies that the pattern is replaced with nothing.