Linux Vi and Vim Command Line Text Editor Tutorial


Linux provides a lot of useful tools from command line. Vi or Vim is one of the very popular text editor used in Linux , Unix and BSd operating systems. In this tutorial we will look different usage examples of the Vim. From up to now we will call Vim which is improved version of Vi.

Open with File Name

We can open a file by giving its name to the Vim. In this example we want to open file named test.txt . If this do not exist it will created after save operation.

Command Mode

Vim and vi mainly works with commands. Vim have command mode which these commands can be issued. We can use Escape and : to enter command mode. In command mode we will use commands described below.

Exit From Vim

For beginners exiting from vim is very hard job. Vim have commands to manage Vim behaviour. We can exit from Vim with the following commands.


We can easily exit with the following command.

Exit Without Saving

If we have made some changes and try to exit vim or vi will prevent it unless we save it or exit without saving.

Move Cursor In The Vim Editor

Cursor can be moved with given direction keys. But  Vim provides more shortcuts for this.

Down Single Line

Up Single Line

Left Single Character

Right Single Character

Start Of The Current Line

End Of The Current Line

First Line Of File

Last Line Of File

Move Cursor To The Given Line Number

One of the most popular command for Vim is moving cursor to the given line. We will use :n for this but we will also provide line number. In this example we want to move cursor to the line number 500.

LEARN MORE  Vi/Vim Show Line Numbers

Insert/Edit Mode

Insert/Edit mode is the situation where all given keystrokes are interpreted as text input. We will look how to enter insert/edit mode below.

Add Text

We generally need to add some text to the files. There are different ways to use insert mode. Here some of them.


We can write the text and it will be inserted


Copy Text

Copy operating will operate at the given lines. Copy operation will copy lines to the buffer.

Copy Current Line

We will copy the current line where the cursor resides.

Copy Given Range

We can copy given range which is 4 lines in this example.

Paste Text

Copied text will be pasted from buffer.

Undo Last Change

We can revert changes easily with the following command

Delete Text

We can delete lines with the following command. Deleted lines also copied to the buffer where we can use this buffer to paste. This is same as moving.

Current Line

We will delete the current line where the cursor resides

Given Line Range

We will provide the line count we want to delete which is 5 in this case.

Search Test

We can search given string, text in current file.

Forward Search

We will search the text STRING to the forward which means top to down.

Backward Search

We will search STRING to the backward which means down to top.

Next Occurrence

Jump to the next occurrence of the search to the top to down.

LEARN MORE  Vi/Vim Save And Quit

Previous Occurrence

Jump to the previous occurrence of the search which means down to top.

Show Current Line Number

We can show current line number in the bottom with the following command.

Show Total Lines Number

If we need the total lines count we can use following

Save File

Current file can be saved with the following command.This will save to the same file.

Save File with Different Name

We have also option to save into different file name. We will provide the file name to the :w command like below.

Save and Close

We can save and close  current file easily with the following command.

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