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VI “Cheat” Sheet

ACNS Bulletin ED–03

February 1995

vi Editor “Cheat Sheet”

Invoking vi: vi filename
Format of vi commands: [count][command] (count repeats the effect of the command)

Command mode versus input mode File management commands

Vi starts in command mode. The positioning commands :w name Write edit buffer to file name
operate only while vi is in command mode. You switch vi :wq Write to file and quit
to input mode by entering any one of several vi input com- :q! Quit without saving changes
mands. (See next section.) Once in input mode, any charac- ZZ Same as :wq
ter you type is taken to be text and is added to the file. You :sh Execute shell commands (<ctrl>d)
cannot execute any commands until you exit input mode.
To exit input mode, press the escape (Esc) key.
Window motions
Input commands (end with Esc) <ctrl>d Scroll down (half a screen)
<ctrl>u Scroll up (half a screen)
a Append after cursor
<ctrl>f Page forward
i Insert before cursor
<ctrl>b Page backward
o Open line below
/string Search forward
O Open line above
?string Search backward
:r file Insert file after current line
<ctrl>l Redraw screen
Any of these commands leaves vi in input mode until you <ctrl>g Display current line number and
press Esc. Pressing the RETURN key will not take you out file information
of input mode.
n Repeat search
N Repeat search reverse
Change commands (Input mode) G Go to last line
nG Go to line n
cw Change word (Esc)
:n Go to line n
cc Change line (Esc) - blanks line
z<CR> Reposition window: cursor at top
c$ Change to end of line
z. Reposition window: cursor in middle
rc Replace character with c
z- Reposition window: cursor at bottom
R Replace (Esc) - typeover
s Substitute (Esc) - 1 char with string
S Substitute (Esc) - Rest of line with Cursor motions
H Upper left corner (home)
. Repeat last change
M Middle line

Changes during insert mode

L Lower left corner
h Back a character
<ctrl>h Back one character j Down a line
<ctrl>w Back one word k Up a line
<ctrl>u Back to beginning of insert ^ Beginning of line
$ End of line
l Forward a character
w One word forward
b Back one word
fc Find c
; Repeat find (find next c)
Deletion commands Move text from file old to file new
dd or ndd Delete n lines to general buffer vi old
dw Delete word to general buffer “a10yy yank 10 lines to buffer a
dnw Delete n words :w write work buffer
d) Delete to end of sentence :e new edit new file
db Delete previous word “ap put text from a after cursor
D Delete to end of line :30,60w new Write lines 30 to 60 in file new
x Delete character
Regular expressions (search strings)
Recovering deletions
^ Matches beginning of line
p Put general buffer after cursor $ Matches end of line
P Put general buffer before cursor . Matches any single character
* Matches any previous character
Undo commands .* Matches any character

u Undo last change

Search and replace commands
U Undo all changes on line

Rearrangement commands
yy or Y Yank (copy) line to general buffer
“z6yy Yank 6 lines to buffer z Address components:
yw Yank word to general buffer . Current line
“a9dd Delete 9 lines to buffer a n Line number n
“A9dd Delete 9 lines; Append to buffer a .+m Current line plus m lines
“ap Put text from buffer a after cursor $ Last line
p Put general buffer after cursor /string/ A line that contains "string"
P Put general buffer before cursor % Entire file
J Join lines [addr1],[addr2] Specifies a range

The following example replaces only the first occur-
:set list Show invisible characters rence of Banana with Kumquat in each of 11 lines
:set nolist Don’t show invisible characters starting with the current line (.) and continuing for the
10 that follow (.+10).
:set number Show line numbers
:set nonumber Don’t show line numbers :.,.+10s/Banana/Kumquat

:set autoindent Indent after carriage return The following example replaces every occurrence
:set noautoindentTurn off autoindent (caused by the g at the end of the command) of
:set showmatch Show matching sets of apple with pear.
parentheses as they are typed
:set noshowmatch Turn off showmatch :%s/apple/pear/g

:set showmode Display mode on last line of screen The following example removes the last character from
:set noshowmode Turn off showmode every line in the file. Use it if every line in the file ends
:set all Show values of all possible with ^M as the result of a file transfer. Execute it
parameters when the cursor is on the first line of the file.