How To Use Vi Editor?


vi is a very powerful text editor where most of the Linux distributions provide. vim is an improved version of the vi editor with more features. Most of the intersecting features comply with vim. In this tutorial, we will learn how to use vi from start.

Open File

We will start by opening a text file by providing the name of the file. In this example, we will open the file named poem.txt. Alternatively, we can provide a complete path like /home/ismail/poem.txt .

$ vi poem.txt

$ vi /home/ismail/poem.txt
Open File
Open File

Insert Mode

After opening the vi editor we will be in the command mode. Command mode will enable vi shortcuts like Copy , Paste , Delete Line etc. If we want to change text we need to enter Insert Mode . By entering i we will enter the Insert Mode.

i
Insert Mode
Insert Mode

Command Mode

We can enter the command mode again with the Esc or Escape. This will return from the Insert Mode to the Command mode.

Esc

Copy

There are different commands in the Command Mode. We can copy the given line with the yy command below. This will copy the current line.

yy

OR we can specify the number of lines starting from current line which is 5 in this case.

y5y

Paste

With yy command given line will be copied to the buffer. We can paste the latest buffer content to the cursor position with the p command like below.

p
Paste
Paste

Delete Line

We can delete the current line with the dd command. As stated this will only delete the current single line. If we want to delete from the current line to the down we can provide the line numbers between d’s. In this example, we will delete 5 lines from the current line.

d5d
Delete Line
Delete Line

Save Text Content

Over time we will make changes in the current file. These changes should be saved after some time in order to prevent loss. We can save the current file with the :w  which means save.

:w
Save vi
Save vi

Save and Quit

We can also make some work quicker. We want to save file and then quit. This can be down with a single command :wq

:wq

Quit without Saving

If we made some changes but do not want to save them and preserve the original file we can use :q!

:q!

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