vgrep - Man Page

a user-friendly pager for grep

Examples (TL;DR)


vgrep [OPTION...] PATTERNS [FILE...]

vgrep [OPTION...] -s [COMMAND][context] [SELECTORS]


vgrep is a pager for grep, git-grep, ripgrep and similar grep implementations, and allows for opening the indexed file locations in a user-specified editor such as vim or emacs.

vgrep is inspired by the ancient cgvg scripts but extended to perform further operations such as listing statistics of files and directory trees or showing the context lines before and after the matches.

vgrep runs on Linux, Windows and Mac OS.

Note: vgrep is used to perform textual searches. On a technical level, vgrep serves as a front-end to grep or git-grep when invoking vgrep inside a git tree and uses less for displaying the results. All non-vgrep flags and arguments will be passed down to grep. Results of the last search are cached, so running vgrep without a new query will load previous results and operate on them.

By default, the output will be written to less to make browsing large amounts of data more comfortable. vgrep --no-less will write to stdout.

Opening Matches

vgrep can open the indexed file locations in an editor specified by the EDITOR environment variable. Opening one of the file locations from the previous example may look as follows:

# export EDITOR=gedit
# vgrep --show 4

The default editor of vgrep is vim with the default flag to open a file at a specific line being + followed by the line number. If your editor of choice hits the rare case of a different syntax, use the EDITORLINEFLAG environment variable to adjust. For example, a kate user may set the environment to EDITOR="kate" and EDITORLINEFLAG="-l".

Note that vgrep does not allow for searching and opening files at the same time. For instance, vgrep --show=files text should be split in two commands: vgrep text and vgrep --show=files.

IDE Support

Note that if you run vgrep inside a terminal of VSCode or Goland, the format of listed files changes to "$PATH:$LINE" to allow for opening the matches in the editor via a simple mouse click.

Interactive Shell

Once vgreped, you can perform certain operations on the results such as limiting the range of indexed matches, listing matching files and directories and more.

Enter a vgrep command: ? vgrep command help: command[context lines] [selectors]
        selectors: '3' (single), '1,2,6' (multi), '1-8' (range), 'all'
         commands: print, show, context, tree, delete, keep, refine, files, grep, quit, ?

vgrep commands can be passed directly to the --show/-s flag, for instance as --show c5 1-10 to show the five context lines of the first ten matched lines. Furthermore, the commands can be executed in an interactive shell via the --interactive/-i flag. Running vgrep --interactive will enter the shell directly, vgrep --show 1 --interactive will first open the first matched line in the editor and enter the interactive shell after.



Print the number of matches for earch directory in the tree:

$ vgrep -stree
Matches Directory
    876 .
     21 docs
      5 hack
     88 internal
     15 internal/ansi
     73 internal/colwriter
     76 test
      3 test/search_files
  37500 vendor

Show one context line before and after each match:

$ vgrep -sc1
--- 0 .cirrus.yml ------------------------------------------------
6   CODECOV_TOKEN: ENCRYPTED[64481ea00b08c4703bf350a2ad3d5a6fd7a00269576784b2943cce62604798e88f532e19fb66859fa68f43dbd4a0df15]
--- 1 .goreleaser.yml ---------------------------------------------
1 before:
2   hooks:
--- 2 .goreleaser.yml ---------------------------------------------
15     amd64: x86_64
16   format: binary
17 checksum:


man pages