Linux and Unix vi command

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About vi

Originally developed by William Joy in the late 1970s, vi is a visual text editor.

Syntax

vi [ -| -s ] [-l] [-L] [-R] [ -r [ filename ] ] [-S] [-t tag] [-v] [-V] [-x] 
   [-w] [-n ] [-C] [+command | -c command ] filename

Description

vi is actaully the command which launches the visual mode of ex, developed by William Joy. As ex gained popularity, he noticed that most users were exclusively using its visual mode, so he created a link to ex which immediately starts in visual mode and simply named it vi. The name stuck, and today vi is the most popular text editor among Linux users.

A more feature-rich implementation of vi named vim (which stands for "vi improved") is also widely used. For more information, please see our vim documentation.

Options

- | -s Suppress all interactive user feedback. This is useful when processing editor scripts.
-l Set up for editing LISP programs.
-L List the name of all files saved as the result of an editor or system crash.
-R Readonly mode; the readonly flag is set, preventing accidental overwriting of the file.
-r filename Edit filename after an editor or system crash. (Recovers the version of filename that was in the buffer when the crash occurred.)
-S This option is used in conjunction with the -t tag option to tell vi that the tags file may not be sorted and that, if the binary search (which relies on a sorted tags file) for tag fails to find it, the much slower linear search should also be done. Since the linear search is slow, users of large tags files should ensure that the tags files are sorted rather than use this flag. Creation of tags files normally produces sorted tags files. See ctags for more information on tags files.
-t tag Edit the file containing the tag tag, and position the editor at its definition.
-v Start up in display editing state using vi. You can achieve the same effect by typing the vi command itself.
-V Verbose mode. When ex commands are read by means of standard input, the input will be echoed to standard error. This may be useful when processing ex commands within shell scripts.
-x Encryption option; when used, vi simulates the X command of ex and prompts the user for a key. This key is used to encrypt and decrypt text using the algorithm of the crypt command. The X command makes an educated guess to determine whether text read in is encrypted or not. The temporary buffer file is encrypted also, using a transformed version of the key typed in for the -x option. If an empty encryption key is entered (that is, if the return key is pressed right after the prompt), the file will not be encrypted. This is a good way to decrypt a file erroneously encrypted with a mistyped encryption key, such as a backspace or undo key.
-wn Set the default window size to n. This is useful when using the editor over a slow speed line.
-C Encryption option; same as the -x option, except that vi simulates the C command of ex. The C command is like the X command of ex, except that all text read in is assumed to have been encrypted.
+command | -c command Begin editing by executing the specified editor command (usually a search or positioning command).
filename The file to be edited.

Examples

vi myfile.txt

Edits the file myfile.txt.

Related commands

ctags
ed
edit
ex
pico
vim
vipw