How to replace a character by a newline in Vim

escapingnewlinereplacevivim

I'm trying to replace each , in the current file by a new line:

:%s/,/\n/g 

But it inserts what looks like a ^@ instead of an actual newline. The file is not in DOS mode or anything.

What should I do?

If you are curious, like me, check the question Why is \r a newline for Vim? as well.

Best Solution

Use \r instead of \n.

Substituting by \n inserts a null character into the text. To get a newline, use \r. When searching for a newline, you’d still use \n, however. This asymmetry is due to the fact that \n and \r do slightly different things:

\n matches an end of line (newline), whereas \r matches a carriage return. On the other hand, in substitutions \n inserts a null character whereas \r inserts a newline (more precisely, it’s treated as the input CR). Here’s a small, non-interactive example to illustrate this, using the Vim command line feature (in other words, you can copy and paste the following into a terminal to run it). xxd shows a hexdump of the resulting file.

echo bar > test
(echo 'Before:'; xxd test) > output.txt
vim test '+s/b/\n/' '+s/a/\r/' +wq
(echo 'After:'; xxd test) >> output.txt
more output.txt
Before:
0000000: 6261 720a                                bar.
After:
0000000: 000a 720a                                ..r.

In other words, \n has inserted the byte 0x00 into the text; \r has inserted the byte 0x0a.