Some users, especially Vi users, prefer a behavior of ZapToChar that

  1. deletes up to the provided character,
  2. doesn’t delete the provided character,
  3. and starts the point from before the character rather than after.

A zap-up-to-char can be interactively accomplished with the commands ‘M-z CHAR CHAR C-b’.[1] This is not satisfactory for some. In XEmacs, an implementation is installed and available by default. There is a ‘zap-up-to-char’ in Emacs 22, GIT:misc.el.

Here is some EmacsLisp you can add to your InitFile or by EvaluatingExpressions to make it available.

  (autoload 'zap-up-to-char "misc"
    "Kill up to, but not including ARGth occurrence of CHAR.
  \(fn arg char)"

If you want to it to replace the key binding used for ‘zap-to-char’ use the following.

  (global-set-key "\M-z" 'zap-up-to-char)

You could put it on a new binding, like ‘M-S-z’.

  (global-set-key "\M-Z" 'zap-up-to-char)

Emacs 21 users can either define a modified ‘zap-to-char’ implementation, or provide advice to ‘zap-to-char’ (See AdvisingFunctions). The modular customization would be to provide advice:

  (defadvice zap-to-char (after my-zap-to-char-advice (arg char) activate)
    "Kill up to the ARG'th occurence of CHAR, and leave CHAR. If
  you are deleting forward, the CHAR is replaced and the point is
  put before CHAR"
    (insert char)
    (if (< 0 arg) (forward-char -1)))

As with ‘zap-to-char’, the advised ‘zap-to-char’ has the same behaviors when the user gives a PrefixArgument.

In the future, Emacs could provide a ‘zap-to-char’ hook to avoid using advice (See AdviceVsHooks):

--- simple.el	27 Dec 2005 13:43:23 -0500	1.781
+++ simple.el	27 Dec 2005 13:43:53 -0500	
@@ -2790,7 +2790,8 @@
   (kill-region (point) (progn
 			 (search-forward (char-to-string char) nil nil arg)
 ;			 (goto-char (if (> arg 0) (1- (point)) (1+ (point))))
-			 (point))))
+			 (point)))
+  (run-hooks 'zap-to-char-hook))
 ;; kill-line and its subroutines.

This could then allow the following hook.

  (defun my-zap-up-to-char-hook ()
    "Kill up to ARG'th occurence of CHAR.
  This function advises `zap-to-char'."
    (insert char)
    (forward-char -1))
  (add-hook 'zap-to-char-hook 'my-zap-up-to-char-hook)

This is called “pirating zap-up-to-char with a patch and a hook”, argh!

I often want to use zap-to-char to put some text into the kill-ring without killing it from the buffer. I wrote this function to accomplish that:

  (defun zap-to-char-save (arg char)
    "Zap to a character, but save instead of kill."
    (interactive "p\ncZap to char: ")
      (zap-to-char arg char)

The only issue with this is that if you use it in an unmodified buffer, it sets the modified flag. I bind it to M-Z for easy access.

See FastNav for a collection of commands that jump to, replace at and do other operations at the next/previous occurence of a character.

XEmacs has zap-to-char and also zap-up-to-char which deletes up to the given character, but not the character, so deleting something like: “^Hello, World” where ^ is Point, you could `M-x zap-up-to-char ,’ and your result would be: “^, World” … Obviously, if you use that very handy function, you would want to bind it to something as it is not bound by default. – JeremyCowgar

See also ViKeys, ZapToCharUsage, ZapToISearch, FastNav.

CategoryEditing CategoryEmulation