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Vi or Vim is a basic text editor found in most of UNIX-like operating systems. It is useful to know how to use it in case there are no other text editors available, it is also a very powerful editor.

Vim is "vi improved" and it usually replaces "Vi" on most of the modern systems.



Start Vim tutorial by typing "vimtutor" in konsole. If that doesn't work make sure you have "vim-full" installed on your system.

Basic operation

Vi has two basic modes "command mode" and "insert mode", you can enter text only in insert mode, otherwise Vim expects a command. Vim starts in command mode, to enter insert mode press "i", to exit back to command mode press "Esc".

Basic commands

exit to command mode Esc

exit vi (without saving) :q!

exit vi (with saving) :wq


All these commands place you in "edit mode" to exit press Esc.

insert mode i

append mode A

open new line o

copy (or yank) y

copy word yw

paste p


delete character x

delete word dw

delete line dd

delete 5 lines d5d or 5dd -- many commands in Vim can be applied multiple times by using a number with them, for example d3w deletes three words and 7x deletes seven characters.

put or paste p pastes the deleted content


undo u

undo all changed to a line U

Search and replace

search /

search backward ?

search again (next) n in opposite direction N

replace :s/old/new

replace in all the line :s/old/new/g

replace in all document :%s/old/new/g


go to original position CTRL-o

go to line number linenumber G, or linenumber gg

go to begin of document gg

go to end of document G

show position in document CTRL-g

Open file

start program with vi filename

in vi type :o filename

Save file

save :w

save as :w filename

Other useful commands

execute external commands :!command, for example :!ls runs the "ls" command in the current directory.


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