[unix] What does ^M character mean in Vim?

I keep getting ^M character in my vimrc and it breaks my configuration.

This question is related to unix vim

The answer is


In Unix it is probably easier to use 'tr' command.

cat file1.txt | tr "\r" "\n" > file2.txt

I removed them all with sed:

sed -i -e 's/\r//g' <filename>

Could also replace with a different string or character. If there aren't line breaks already for example you can turn \r into \n:

sed -i -e 's/\r/\n/g' <filename>

Those sed commands work on the GNU/Linux version of sed but may need tweaking on BSDs (including macOS).


If you didn't specify a different fileformat intentionally (say, :e ++ff=unix for a Windows file), it's likely that the target file has mixed EOLs.

For example, if a file has some lines with <CR><NL> endings and others with <NL> endings, and fileformat is set to unix automatically by Vim when reading it, ^M (<CR>) will appear. In such cases, fileformats (note: there's an extra s) comes into play. See :help ffs for the details.


You can fix this in vim using

:1,$s/^V^M//g

where ^ is the control character.


Let's say your text file is - file.txt, then run this command -

dos2unix file.txt 

It converts the text file from dos to unix format.


:%s/\r//g 

worked for me today. But my situation may have been slightly different.


To translate the new line instead of removing it:

:%s/\r/\r/g

I got a text file originally generated on a Windows Machine by way of a Mac user and needed to import it into a Linux MySQL DB using the load data command.

Although VIM displayed the '^M' character, none of the above worked for my particular problem, the data would import but was always corrupted in some way. The solution was pretty easy in the end (after much frustration).

Solution: Executing dos2unix TWICE on the same file did the trick! Using the file command shows what is happening along the way.

$ file 'file.txt'
file.txt: ASCII text, with CRLF, CR line terminators

$ dos2unix 'file.txt'
dos2unix: converting file file.txt to UNIX format ...
$ file 'file.txt'
file.txt: ASCII text, with CRLF line terminators

$ dos2unix 'file.txt'
dos2unix: converting file file.txt to UNIX format ...
$ file 'file.txt'
file.txt: ASCII text

And the final version of the file imported perfectly into the database.


In FreeBSD, you can clear the ^M manually by typing the following:

:%s/ Ctrl+V, then Ctrl+M, then Ctrl+M again.


This is the only thing that worked in my case:

:e ++ff=dos

:wq


If it breaks your configuration, and the ^M characters are required in mappings, you can simply replace the ^M characters by <Enter> or even <C-m> (both typed as simple character sequences, so 7 and 5 characters, respectively).

This is the single recommended, portable way of storing special keycodes in mappings


try :%s/\^M// At least this worked for me.


It probably means you've got carriage returns (different operating systems use different ways of signaling the end of line).

Use dos2unix to fix the files or set the fileformats in vim:

set ffs=unix,dos

I've discovered that I've been polluting files for weeks due to the fact that my Homebrew Mvim instance was set to use filetype=dos. Made the required change in .vimrc....