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You are here: Misc->VI

4. Startup File

Having explored vi commands somewhat, we are now ready to create
a default editing environment through the use of .exrc,
the configuration file which resides in user's home directory.

.exrc typically contains at least three types of entries:

  1. set commands to create preferred editing environment
  2. map commands to assign functions or macros to keys
  3. ab commands to either map abbreviations or automatically
    correct common spelling errors

When mapping escape sequences of some keys, we may need to
quote them, that is, to insert them literally. This can
be accomplished in vi by issuing a text input command and pressing
Ctrl-V before the key we wish to quote is pressed.

Now let's look at a sample .exrc:

set autoindent
set wrapmargin=8
set ignorecase
map #4 !}fmt^M
ab teh the
ab cutsomer customer

Lines 1 and 2 set autoindent mode on and turn on wordwrap at column
72. Line 3 specifies that all searches are to be case insensitive.
Line 4 maps function key 4 to reformat from the cursor position
to the end of the paragraph
. Finally, lines 5 and 6 map some
common misspellings to the correct spelling. Note that ^M
on lines 4 and 5 are created by pressing Ctrl-V and then
hitting Ctrl-M.

With a little creativity you can make vi look as personal as you wish.

NOTE: After creating .exrc make sure that EXINIT
environment variable is not set as it would overwrite whatever
settings you entered into .exrc. You can verify whether
the EXINIT variable is set using this command from the UNIX command

$ set | grep EXINIT

If you see no output, you're fine.

Make sure that .exrc contains no blank lines - they
are not allowed.

/* 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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