In my attempt to have * and # work in Spacemacs as they do in Vim, I've followed the solution posted at this question.

Those keys now work, but there's one hurdle more to overcome: the searched term does not populate the search history.

As an example, suppose you:

  • do /aaa
  • position yourself over another word, say "bbb" and hit *
  • hit n

Spacemacs will search for "aaa" rather than "bbb". Is there a way to fix this behaviour?

1 Answer 1


You can use evil-symbol-word-search to accomplish what you want by adding the following to you init.el after loading evil

(setq-default evil-symbol-word-search t)
  • I added that line under dotspacemacs/user-init () to no avail. Should it go somewhere else?
    – Jir
    Oct 11, 2018 at 12:12
  • I'm not familiar with spacemacs, though I would also try customizing that variable through M-x customize Oct 11, 2018 at 12:17
  • I tried that, too, but it looks as if the variable does not have any effect (though being set to t)
    – Jir
    Oct 11, 2018 at 12:21
  • What are <kbd>*</kbd> and <kbd>/</kbd> mapped to? It says in the answer that you linked that this mapping is overriden in spacemacs: github.com/syl20bnr/spacemacs/blob/… Oct 11, 2018 at 13:21
  • They are bound to evil-search-word-forward and backward: (defun dotspacemacs/user-config () (with-eval-after-load 'auto-highlight-symbol (define-key evil-motion-state-map (kbd "*") 'evil-search-word-forward) (define-key evil-motion-state-map (kbd "#") 'evil-search-word-backward)))
    – Jir
    Oct 11, 2018 at 13:38

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