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You are here: Misc->VI

2. Commands

Below you will find a cheat-sheet with vi commands. This cheat sheet will also come in handy in the next section of this document,
Practice Lesson #1.

vi cheat-sheet 

a. cursor movements (items below are sometimes called objects):
h - left one character
l - right one character
j - down one line
k - up one line
w - right one word
b - back one word
$ - to the end of line
0 - to the beginning of the line
) - right one sentence
( - left one sentence
} - right one paragraph
{ - left one paragraph
Ctrl-F - forward one page
Ctrl-B - back one page
G - go to (without arguments, go to end of file)
b. deleting:
d - delete
then add one of the cursor movement symbols to
show what should be deleted, i.e.:
d$ - delete to end of line
d0 - delete to the beginning of the line
d} - delete to the end of paragraph
dd - delete delete (delete the whole line)
x - delete character cursor is on
c. other basic commands:
r - replace one character
ZZ - save and exit (hold down shift and press "z" twice)
y - yank (copy into temporary buffer)
then add cursor movement symbol to show what should be
copied, for example: y) - copy to the end of sentence
Y - yank line cursor is on
p - paste below cursor line (deleted or copied text)
P - paste above cursor line
u - undo last editing command
/sometext - search for "sometext"

d. any command can take numeric argument before the name of "object", i.e.:
5dd - delete 5 lines beginning with cursor line (or) d5d - same
2dw - delete two words (or) d2w - delete two words
c3w - change 3 words
3Ctrl-B - move up three pages
1G - go to the first line
e. external commands can be performed on the selected text (in lines)
if command is started with "!", i.e.:
!}fmt - reformat paragraph to 72 columns
f. command line (sometimes called "ex mode"):
g. from the command line a "set" command can be executed to
customize editing environment, i.e.:
:set all - will show the state of all options
:set number - will show on the screen numbers of all lines
:set autoindent // obvious
h. from the command line operations can be performed on the range of lines,
:18,24 del - delete from line 18 to line 24
:23,48 copy 17 - block from line 23 to 48 copy to line 17
:2,17 move 92 - block from line 2 to 17 move to line 92
i. from the command line any external UNIX command can be performed on
the range of lines if line range is superseded by "!":
:11,16! sed -e "s/^//*/" -e "s/$/*//"

(the command above wraps the block of text with
"C" style comments - /* text */. It can be done
easier, but this is an example)
:14,19! sort -r +3
(sort the table in reverse order by fourth column)
j. file manipulation from the command line:
:r somefile - read in "somefile"
:x - save and exit (if file is "Read Only", this command will
exit without saving)
:wq - write and quit (same as above)
:w - write (save) if the file permissions allow it
:w! - save file even if it is read-only as long as we own it
:w somefile - save this file as "somefile"
:q - quit without saving
:q! - quit without saving if changes were made
k. text input commands (all require "Esc" to terminate):
i - insert text before the character cursor is on
I - insert text at the beginning of the line
a - append (insert text after the character cursor is on)
A - append text to the end of the line
c - change (replace previous text with new one)
takes arguments just like the delete command - it is
a fast and powerful way of changing original text -
much more so than typical "overwrite"

R - start overwriting text
o - start entering text at the beginning of the new line
below the cursor
O - start entering text at the beginning of the new line
above the cursor
l. if in doubt, press "Esc"

/* The article above and any accompanying files are freely
* distributable, but please leave this notice and the text intact.
* Home for this document:
* Copyright (C) 1994, 1999 Tony Thomas
* Contact author through
* Last revision Feb 23, 1999
* UNIX is a trademark of X/Open

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