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Author: Max Brunsfeld

Yankstack.vim is a lightweight implementation of the Emacs 'kill ring' for Vim. It allows you to yank and delete things without worrying about losing the text that you yanked previously. It effectively turns your default register into a stack, and lets you cycle through the items in the stack after doing a paste.

This plugin is intended to be a simpler alternative to the yankring plugin. It has a fairly complete test suite based on rspec and vimbot.


I recommend loading your plugins with vundle or pathogen.

Key Mappings

By default, yankstack adds only 2 key bindings, in normal and visual modes:

  • meta-p - cycle backward through your history of yanks
  • meta-shift-p - cycle forwards through your history of yanks

After pasting some text using p or P, you can cycle through your yank history using these commands. Typing either of these keys without pasting first will do a normal paste (the same as typing p). This also works in insert mode.

the 'meta' key

If you're using MacVim, and you want to use this plugin's default key bindings (or any bindings involving the option key), you must :set macmeta. On Linux, you may have issues with the meta key if your terminal is running in 7bit mode. Instructions for dealing with this can be found on the wiki


You can see the contents of the yank-stack using the :Yanks command. Its output is similar to the :registers command.


Yankstack defines two plugin mappings that you can map to keys of your choosing. The same mappings work in normal and insert modes.

  • <Plug>yankstack_substitute_older_paste - cycle backwards through your history of yanks
  • <Plug>yankstack_substitute_newer_paste - cycle forwards through your history of yanks

For example, if you wanted to define some mappings based on your 'leader' key, you could do this:

nmap <leader>p <Plug>yankstack_substitute_older_paste
nmap <leader>P <Plug>yankstack_substitute_newer_paste

Also, if you want to load yankstack without the default key mappings, just let g:yankstack_map_keys = 0 in your .vimrc file.


Yankstack works by mapping the yank and paste keys to functions that do some book-keeping before calling through to the normal yank/paste keys. You may want to define your own mappings of the yank and paste keys. For example, I like to map the Y key to y$, so that it behaves the same as D and C. The yankstack mappings need to happen before you define any such mappings of your own. To achieve this, just call yankstack#setup() in your vimrc, before defining your mappings:

call yankstack#setup()
nmap Y y$
" other mappings involving y, d, c, etc

You can also prevent certain keys from being remapped by setting the g:yankstack_yank_keys to the keys of your choosing. For example, if you only want Yankstack to remap y and d:

let g:yankstack_yank_keys = ['y', 'd']

Contributing, Feedback

I'd enjoy hearing anybody's feedback on yankstack, and welcome any contribution. Check it out on github!


1.0.6 (2014-08-04)

  • Allow customization of the list of keys to be remapped.

1.0.5 (2012-07-19)

  • Fix bug where on certain versions of vim, the first time you tried to cycle through your yanks after doing a normal paste, an extra paste was created.

1.0.4 (2012-07-01)

  • Make it so that yankstack-cycling keys cause a normal paste if they are used without pasting first. Fix stack-cycling in insert-mode.

1.0.3 (2012-05-04):

  • Fix bug when overwriting text in select mode. This was causing problems for snipMate users.

1.0.2 (2012-4-20):

  • Add test coverage using rspec and vimbot!
  • Perfect the behavior of the yankstack when pasting over text in visual mode
  • Fix bug where 's' and 'S' didn't push to the yankstack

1.0.1 (2012-2-11):

  • Change default key bindings, update readme, add link to github page.

1.0.1 (2011-12-08):

  • Fix bug when displaying empty yanks.

1.0.0 (2011-12-04):

  • Remove unnecessary dependency on the undotree() function. Plugin should now work on any recent version of vim.


Copyright (c) Max Brunsfeld. Distributed under the same terms as Vim itself. See the vim license.



A lightweight implementation of emacs's kill-ring for vim



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