How to Use VI Editor in Linux

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Check How to Use VI Editor in Linux

Advanced versions of the vi editor are available today, and the most popular is VIM, which stands for Vi Enhanced. Some of the others are Elvis, Nvi, Nano and Vile. Learning vi is recommended as it offers many features and endless possibilities for editing files. To work with the VI editor, you must understand its capabilities. They can be divided into two main areas. Vi or Visual Editor is the default text editor that comes with most Linux systems. It is a terminal-based text editor that users should learn to use, especially if easier-to-use text editors are not available on the system.

In command mode, users run commands to perform actions on a file. The VI Editor is usually started in command mode. Here, the words you type act as commands. Therefore, you must be in command mode when you issue a command. Insert mode, on the other hand, is where you edit the file. Here, the text is inserted into the file. Therefore, you must be in insert mode to enter text. Just type “i” to enter insert mode. Use the Esc key to switch from insert mode to command mode of the editor. If you don’t know what mode you are in, press the Esc key twice. This will take you into command mode.

VI editor insert mode:

  • This mode is for inserting text into the file.
  • You can switch to insert mode from command mode by pressing ‘i’ on the keyboard
  • Once you are in Insert mode, any key will be taken as input for the file you are currently working on.
  • To return to command mode and save the changes you have made, you need to press the Esc key

How to use vi editor

To start the VI Editor -Open the Terminal (CLI) and type

  • saw either

And if you specify an existing file, the editor will open it for you to edit. Otherwise you can create a new file.

VI Edit Commands

  • i – Insert at cursor (goes to insert mode)
  • a – Write after cursor (enters insert mode)
  • A: write to the end of the line (goes into insert mode)
  • ESC – End insert mode
  • u – Undo last change
  • U – Undo all changes on the entire line
  • o – Open a new line (go into insert mode)
  • dd – Delete line
  • 3dd – Delete 3 lines.
  • D – Delete the content of the line after the cursor
  • C: removes the content of a line after the cursor and inserts new text. Press the ESC key to finish inserting.
  • dw – Delete word
  • 4dw – Delete 4 words
  • cw – Change word
  • x – Delete character at cursor
  • r – Replace character
  • R: overwrite characters from cursor forward
  • s – Substitute a character under the cursor continue inserting
  • S – Replace the entire line and start inserting at the beginning of the line
  • ~ – Change case of individual character

Move within a file

  • k – Move cursor up
  • j – Move cursor down
  • h – Move cursor left
  • l – Move cursor right

Final words: How to Use VI Editor in Linux

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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