On Friday, February 2, 2018 at 2:17:27 PM UTC-5, Tim Chase wrote:
> On 2018-02-02 10:45, Bernard Fay wrote:
> > I have a file with a bunch of lines like the following one:
> > 
> > AAE ..........................................Above Aerodrome
> > Elevation
> > 
> > I would like to replace the dots by a single tab.
> > 
> > I tried the following substitutions but it does not work.
> > %s/\.*/\t/
> > %s/[\.]*/\t/
> 
> Because you're using "*" instead of "\+", it is likely finding the
> zero periods at the beginning of the line, transforming it into
> 
> \tAAEE ......... Above Aerodrome Elevation
> 
> What you likely want is to require more than one period with either
> 
>   %s/[.]\+/\t
> 
> or
> 
>   %s/\.\+/\t
> 
> If for some reason a period appears in the abbreviation on the left
> ("A.A.E. ....... Above Aerodrome Elevation"), you can require a
> minimum number of them:
> 
>   :%s/\.\{4,}/\t
> 
> to require at least 4 consecutive periods for the replacement.
> 
> Additionally, you might want to eat whitespace on either side of it
> too:
> 
>   :%s/\s*\.\{4,}\s*/\t
> 
> just to clean it up a bit.
> 
> -tim

Wonderful!  Thanks tim

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