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handbook:handbook:texteditor

About Linux Text Editors

Configuration in Linux like operating systems is often made with the help of text editors. It would be a good idea for you to become familiar in one or more text editors.

The vi editor (aka elvis) was introduced in 1983 or so, and its antiquated user interface makes it painful to learn. However vi is installed by default on nearly all Unix and Linux systems. If you want to start vi, and start editing a file, you should type vi filename, where filename is the name of the file you want to create and/or edit. Look at the example below :

debian:/# vi newfile

vi.jpg

You can now start editing your new file. Vi operates in two modes, command mode and insert mode. In the command mode, you give commands for the editor, and in the insert mode, you edit/insert your desired text. You can enter the command mode by pressing the ESC key. To quit the editor and save your work, type :wq, otherwise, if you don't want to save your work, type :q!.

Summary of VI commands

This list is a summary of VI commands, categorized by function. There may be other commands available, so check the on-line manual on VI. For easy reference, you can save this file as text and delete any commands you don't think you would use and print out the resulting shorter file.

Cutting and Pasting/Deleting text

Specify a buffer to be used any of the commands using buffers. Follow the ” with a letter or a number, which corresponds to a buffer.

  • D

Delete to the end of the line from the current cursor position.

  • P

Paste the specified buffer before the current cursor position or line. If no buffer is specified (with the ” command.) then 'P' uses the general buffer.

  • X

Delete the character before the cursor.

  • Y

Yank the current line into the specified buffer. If no buffer is specified, then the general buffer is used.

  • d

Delete until where. “dd” deletes the current line. A count deletes that many lines. Whatever is deleted is placed into the buffer specified with the ” command. If no buffer is specified, then the general buffer is used.

  • p

Paste the specified buffer after the current cursor position or line. If no buffer is specified (with the ” command.) then 'p' uses the general buffer.

  • x

Delete character under the cursor. A count tells how many characters to delete. The characters will be deleted after the cursor.

  • y

Yank until , putting the result into a buffer. “yy” yanks the current line. a count yanks that many lines. The buffer can be specified with the ” command. If no buffer is specified, then the general buffer is used.

Inserting New Text

  • A

Append at the end of the current line.

  • I

Insert from the beginning of a line.

  • O

(letter oh) Enter insert mode in a new line above the current cursor position.

  • a

Enter insert mode, the characters typed in will be inserted after the current cursor position. A count inserts all the text that had been inserted that many times.

  • i

Enter insert mode, the characters typed in will be inserted before the current cursor position. A count inserts all the text that had been inserted that many times.

  • o

Enter insert mode in a new line below the current cursor position.

Moving the Cursor Within the File

  • ^B

Scroll backwards one page. A count scrolls that many pages.

  • ^D

Scroll forwards half a window. A count scrolls that many lines.

  • ^F

Scroll forwards one page. A count scrolls that many pages.

  • ^H

Move the cursor one space to the left. A count moves that many spaces.

  • ^J

Move the cursor down one line in the same column. A count moves that many lines down.

  • ^M

Move to the first character on the next line.

  • ^N

Move the cursor down one line in the same column. A count moves that many lines down.

  • ^P

Move the cursor up one line in the same column. A count moves that many lines up.

  • ^U

Scroll backwards half a window. A count scrolls that many lines.

  • $

Move the cursor to the end of the current line. A count moves to the end of the following lines.

  • %

Move the cursor to the matching parenthesis or brace.

  • ^

Move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character.

  • (

Move the cursor to the beginning of a sentence.

  • )

Move the cursor to the beginning of the next sentence.

  • {

Move the cursor to the preceding paragraph.

  • }

Move the cursor to the next paragraph.

  • |

Move the cursor to the column specified by the count.

  • +

Move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character in the next line.

  • -

Move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character in the previous line.

  • _

Move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character in the current line.

  • 0

(Zero) Move the cursor to the first column of the current line.

  • B

Move the cursor back one word, skipping over punctuation.

  • E

Move forward to the end of a word, skipping over punctuation.

  • G

Go to the line number specified as the count. If no count is given, then go to the end of the file.

  • H

Move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character on the top of the screen.

  • L

Move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character on the bottom of the screen.

  • M

Move the cursor to the first non-whitespace character on the middle of the screen.

  • W

Move forward to the beginning of a word, skipping over punctuation.

  • b

Move the cursor back one word. If the cursor is in the middle of a word, move the cursor to the first character of that word.

  • e

Move the cursor forward one word. If the cursor is in the middle of a word, move the cursor to the last character of that word.

  • h

Move the cursor to the left one character position.

  • j

Move the cursor down one line.

  • k

Move the cursor up one line.

  • l

Move the cursor to the right one character position.

  • w

Move the cursor forward one word. If the cursor is in the middle of a word, move the cursor to the first character of the next word.

Moving the Cursor Around the Screen

  • ^E

Scroll forwards one line. A count scrolls that many lines.

  • ^Y

Scroll backwards one line. A count scrolls that many lines.

  • z

Redraw the screen with the following options. “z<return>” puts the current line on the top of the screen; “z.” puts the current line on the center of the screen; and “z-” puts the current line on the bottom of the screen. If you specify a count before the 'z' command, it changes the current line to the line specified. For example, “16z.” puts line 16 on the center of the screen.

Replacing Text

  • C

Change to the end of the line from the current cursor position.

  • R

Replace characters on the screen with a set of characters entered, ending with the Escape key.

  • S

Change an entire line.

  • c

Change until . “cc” changes the current line. A count changes that many lines.

  • r

Replace one character under the cursor. Specify a count to replace a number of characters.

  • s

Substitute one character under the cursor, and go into insert mode. Specify a count to substitute a number of characters. A dollar sign ($) will be put at the last character to be substituted.

Searching for Text or Characters

  • ,

Repeat the last f, F, t or T command in the reverse direction.

  • /

Search the file downwards for the string specified after the /.

  • ;

Repeat the last f, F, t or T command.

  • ?

Search the file upwards for the string specified after the ?.

  • F

Search the current line backwards for the character specified after the 'F' command. If found, move the cursor to the position.

  • N

Repeat the last search given by '/' or '?', except in the reverse direction.

  • T

Search the current line backwards for the character specified after the 'T' command, and move to the column after the if it's found.

  • f

Search the current line for the character specified after the 'f' command. If found, move the cursor to the position.

  • n

Repeat last search given by '/' or '?'.

  • t

Search the current line for the character specified after the 't' command, and move to the column before the character if it's found.

Manipulating Character/Line Formatting

  • ~

Switch the case of the character under the cursor.

  • <

Shift the lines up to where to the left by one shiftwidth. ”«” shifts the current line to the left, and can be specified with a count.

  • >

Shift the lines up to where to the right by one shiftwidth. ”»” shifts the current line to the right, and can be specified with a count.

  • J

Join the current line with the next one. A count joins that many lines.

Saving and Quitting

  • ^\

Quit out of “VI” mode and go into “EX” mode. The EX editor is the line editor VI is build upon. The EX command to get back into VI is ”:vi”.

  • Q

Quit out of “VI” mode and go into “EX” mode. The ex editor is a line-by-line editor. The EX command to get back into VI is ”:vi”.

  • ZZ

Exit the editor, saving if any changes were made.

Miscellany

  • ^G

Show the current filename and the status.

  • ^L

Clear and redraw the screen.

  • ^R

Redraw the screen removing false lines.

  • ^[

Escape key. Cancels partially formed command.

  • ^^

Go back to the last file edited.

  • !

Execute a shell. If a is specified, the program which is executed using ! uses the specified line(s) as standard input, and will replace those lines with the standard output of the program executed. ”!!” executes a program using the current line as input. For example, ”!4jsort” will take five lines from the current cursor position and execute sort. After typing the command, there will be a single exclamation point where you can type the command in.

  • &

Repeat the previous ”:s” command.

  • .

Repeat the last command that modified the file.

  • :

Begin typing an EX editor command. The command is executed once the user types return. (See section below.)

  • @

Type the command stored in the specified buffer.

  • U

Restore the current line to the state it was in before the cursor entered the line.

  • m

Mark the current position with the character specified after the 'm' command.

  • u

Undo the last change to the file. Typing 'u' again will re-do the change.

EX Commands The VI editor is built upon another editor, called EX. The EX editor only edits by line. From the VI editor you use the : command to start entering an EX command. This list given here is not complete, but the commands given are the more commonly used. If more than one line is to be modified by certain commands (such as ”:s” and ”:w” ) the range must be specified before the command. For example, to substitute lines 3 through 15, the command is ”:3,15s/from/this/g”.

  • :ab string strings

Abbreviation. If a word is typed in VI corresponding to string1, the editor automatically inserts the corresponding words. For example, the abbreviation ”:ab usa United States of America” would insert the words, “United States of America” whenever the word “usa” is typed in.

  • :map keys new_seq

Mapping. This lets you map a key or a sequence of keys to another key or a sequence of keys.

  • :q

Quit VI. If there have been changes made, the editor will issue a warning message.

  • :q!

Quit VI without saving changes.

  • :s/pattern/to_pattern/options

Substitute. This substitutes the specified pattern with the string in the to_pattern. Without options, it only substitutes the first occurence of the pattern. If a 'g' is specified, then all occurences are substituted. For example, the command ”:1,$s/Dwayne/Dwight/g” substitutes all occurences of “Dwayne” to “Dwight”.

  • :set [all]

Sets some customizing options to VI and EX. The ”:set all” command gives all the possible options. (See the section on customizing VI for some options.)

  • :una string

Removes the abbreviation previously defined by ”:ab”.

  • :unm keys

Removes the remove mapping defined by ”:map”.

  • :vi filename

Starts editing a new file. If changes have not been saved, the editor will give you a warning.

  • :w

Write out the current file.

  • :w filename

Write the buffer to the filename specified.

  • :w » filename

Append the contents of the buffer to the filename.

  • :wq

Write the buffer and quit.

Other Linux text editors are

  • ee - Easy to use 'text editor
  • emacs - An editor with a lot of features.
  • jed - Is a versatile, lightweight text editor.
  • joe - Is another versatile lightweight text editor .
  • mcedit - Midnight commander's text editor .
  • nedit - Powerful and user friendly text editor. (With GUI)
  • pico - Another easy to use kid's editor. Comes with the popular pine email proggie.
  • nano - A good text editor getting good utils to edit.
  • vim - Is the best editor for text editing. It's based on vi, but has a lot of features and enhancements, such as the best syntax highlighting ever.
handbook/handbook/texteditor.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/15 17:09 (external edit)