I first want to say that I’m not the first to discover this. But I recently added a modification to what I had in my .vimrc that has removed some small frustration.

In my .vimrc, I remove trailing whitespace on file save, or writing the buffer in Vim terms, using the autocmd feature. To accomplish this, I have the following lines in my .vimrc file:

augroup eventtypemappings
autocmd BufWrite * execute "normal! mz" |  keeppatterns %s/\v\s+$//e | normal `z

augroup END

The item that I added that I was originally unaware of was keeppatterns. It executes the command that follows without adding anything to the search history.

Without this additional command, every time I wrote a file, the most recent search would be set to \v\s+$. This was most annoying when I would be going through several files, searching for the same text in all of them.

The first and last parts of the command deal with setting a mark (I arbitrarily used z for this) and going back to the mark after the substitution. Without those, you will often find your cursor moving to new locations upon writing the buffer. The first normal has to be wrapped into an execute "normal", otherwise the rest of the characters would simply be read as keys to be pressed in the normal command.

The augroup command helps group autocommands. The autocmd! line deletes out any old autocommands. This prevents the autocommands from being defined twice, which can happen if you source your .vimrc file multiple times.

You can always view my current dotfiles here.