Linux

Vi Commands 101

Cursor movement

  • h – move left
  • j – move down
  • k – move up
  • l – move right
  • w – jump by start of words (punctuation considered words)
  • W – jump by words (spaces separate words)
  • e – jump to end of words (punctuation considered words)
  • E – jump to end of words (no punctuation)
  • b – jump backward by words (punctuation considered words)
  • B – jump backward by words (no punctuation)
  • 0 – (zero) start of line
  • ^ – first non-blank character of line
  • $ – end of line
  • G – Go To command (prefix with number – 5G goes to line 5)

Note: Prefix a cursor movement command with a number to repeat it. For example, 4j moves down 4 lines.

Insert Mode – Inserting/Appending text

  • i – start insert mode at cursor
  • I – insert at the beginning of the line
  • a – append after the cursor
  • A – append at the end of the line
  • o – open (append) blank line below current line (no need to press return)
  • O – open blank line above current line
  • ea – append at end of word
  • Esc – exit insert mode

Editing

  • r – replace a single character (does not use insert mode)
  • J – join line below to the current one
  • cc – change (replace) an entire line
  • cw – change (replace) to the end of word
  • c$ – change (replace) to the end of line
  • s – delete character at cursor and subsitute text
  • S – delete line at cursor and substitute text (same as cc)
  • xp – transpose two letters (delete and paste, technically)
  • u – undo
  • . – repeat last command

Marking text (visual mode)

  • v – start visual mode, mark lines, then do command (such as y-yank)
  • V – start Linewise visual mode
  • o – move to other end of marked area
  • Ctrl+v – start visual block mode
  • O – move to Other corner of block
  • aw – mark a word
  • ab – a () block (with braces)
  • aB – a {} block (with brackets)
  • ib – inner () block
  • iB – inner {} block
  • Esc – exit visual mode

Visual commands

  • > – shift right
  • < – shift left
  • y – yank (copy) marked text
  • d – delete marked text
  • ~ – switch case

Cut and Paste

  • yy – yank (copy) a line
  • 2yy – yank 2 lines
  • yw – yank word
  • y$ – yank to end of line
  • p – put (paste) the clipboard after cursor
  • P – put (paste) before cursor
  • dd – delete (cut) a line
  • dw – delete (cut) the current word
  • x – delete (cut) current character

Exiting

  • :w – write (save) the file, but don’t exit
  • :wq – write (save) and quit
  • :q – quit (fails if anything has changed)
  • :q! – quit and throw away changes

Search/Replace

  • /pattern – search for pattern
  • ?pattern – search backward for pattern
  • n – repeat search in same direction
  • N – repeat search in opposite direction
  • :%s/old/new/g – replace all old with new throughout file
  • :%s/old/new/gc – replace all old with new throughout file with confirmations

Working with multiple files

  • :e filename – Edit a file in a new buffer
  • :bnext (or :bn) – go to next buffer
  • :bprev (of :bp) – go to previous buffer
  • :bd – delete a buffer (close a file)
  • :sp filename – Open a file in a new buffer and split window
  • ctrl+ws – Split windows
  • ctrl+ww – switch between windows
  • ctrl+wq – Quit a window
  • ctrl+wv – Split windows vertically

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