With the args list, we can do fancy actions because we have a command called :argdo which does exactly what the name suggests. It will execute an Ex command on all files in the args list.

But first let’s see how to add or remove files without restarting vim.

That’s a good point to note, it’s not a file list, it’s a name list, that can be a buffer too that does not have a file on the system. Usually buffers have a name that matches with the name of the corresponding file, but we can rename a buffer with :file {name} (that’s cheating, if we call :w, it will save the file with the new name). Another option is to create a new buffer and set buftype to nofile with :setlocal buftype=nofile. In this case the buffer will be a Scratch buffer, but we can still change the name with :file, however we can’t save the content with :w.

Add files

The easiest way to add a single file is to call :arga[dd] {name}. This will add {name} to the argument list. If {name} is omitted, the current buffer name will be added to the args list.

We can add more than one files with globs like :arga content/posts/advent-of-vim/2021/day0*.md.

Replace the list

There are cases when we don’t want to add new entries into the list, but we want a new list, we can do it with :ar[gs] {new lsit}. Similar to the previous command :args content/posts/advent-of-vim/2021/day0*.md, we have all the posts where the filename matches day0*, but in this case, we replaced the list, so even if we had other files in the list, they are gone now.

Delete file

Sometimes we want to delete entries from the list, because it’s easier to get the desired args list with a glob add and delete. We can do that with :argd[elete] {pattern}. All files from the argument list will be removed where the name matches the pattern.

Do some magic

Now we can shape our args list as we want, now we can use :argdo. Let’s say we want to change the module path of our fancy go library, but it has a lot of files and that would be a pain to rename everywhere, unless you know the magic spell called argdo. But I warn you, be careful, it’s dangerous one.

" First we load our files into the args list with a glob.
" It may take a bit of time, depending on how large the project, but we can
" split up and do per directory, to make it easier if we want.
:args **/*.go

" Now we have a very long argument list. Let's replace the old module path
" with the new path.
:argdo %s#gitea.code-infection.com/efertone/old#gitea.code-infection.com/efertone/fancy#g

" Now all buffers are updated, but they are not saved. We can use `:up[date]`,
" which does the same as `:w[rite]`, but writes only if the buffer has changes,
" that way we don't waste time saving a file that was not changed.
:argdo update

And that’s it. We moved a go project with 3 commands.