\r instead of
\n inserts a null character into the text. To get a newline, use
\r. When searching for a newline, you’d still use
\n, however. This asymmetry is due to the fact that
\r do slightly different things:
\n matches an end of line (newline), whereas
\r matches a carriage return. On the other hand, in substitutions
\n inserts a null character whereas
\r inserts a newline (more precisely, it’s treated as the input
<CR>). Here’s a small, non-interactive example to illustrate this, using the Vim command line feature (in other words, you can copy and paste the following into a terminal to run it).
xxd shows a hexdump of the resulting file.
echo bar > test (echo 'Before:'; xxd test) > output.txt vim test '+s/b/\n/' '+s/a/\r/' +wq (echo 'After:'; xxd test) >> output.txt more output.txt
Before: 0000000: 6261 720a bar. After: 0000000: 000a 720a ..r.
In other words,
\n has inserted the byte 0x00 into the text;
\r has inserted the byte 0x0a.