[Linux] Using the Vim editor

Commands that switch the editor to insert mode

  • a will append: it moves the cursor one position to the right before switching to insert mode
  • i will insert
  • o will insert a blank line under the current cursor position and move the cursor to that line.
  • Esc key switches back to command mode.

Pressing the Esc key switches back to command mode. If you’re not sure what mode you’re in because you use a really old version of vi that doesn’t display an “INSERT” message, type Esc and you’ll be sure to return to command mode. It is possible that the system gives a little alert when you are already in command mode when hitting Esc, by beeping or giving a visual bell (a flash on the screen). This is normal behavior.

Basic operations

These are some popular vi commands:

  • n dd will delete n lines starting from the current cursor position.
  • n dw will delete n words at the right side of the cursor.
  • x will delete the character on which the cursor is positioned
  • :n moves to line n of the file.
  • :w will save (write) the file
  • :q will exit the editor.
  • :q! forces the exit when you want to quit a file containing unsaved changes.
  • :wq will save and exit
  • :w newfile will save the text to newfile.
  • :wq! overrides read-only permission (if you have the permission to override permissions, for instance when you are using the root account.
  • /astring will search the string in the file and position the cursor on the first match below its position.
  • / will perform the same search again, moving the cursor to the next match.
  • :1, $s/word/anotherword/g will replace word with anotherword throughout the file.
  • yy will copy a block of text.
  • n p will paste it n times.
  • :recover will recover a file after an unexpected interruption.

Refer: http://www.tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/html/sect_06_02.html