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Don Burleson Blog 







The vi Text Editor

Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

The text editor vi, pronounced ?vee-eye,? can be called from the command line, and it stays on the command line. This powerful editor is easy to use, but it is not intuitive. You must know the commands to make it work or at the very least know how to look them up. Pointing and clicking will get you nowhere. Fortunately, just memorizing a few basic commands will make it quite useful.  

In Fedora Linux, the original vi has been replaced with ?vi improved,? launched on the command line with vi or vim. The syntax to open a file in the vim editor is vi </path/filename>. If the file exists, it will open that file; if it does not exist, it will create the file. If you do not name a file, the editor will run without editing a named file until what has been created is saved.

The vieditor utilizes three modes: command mode, edit modeand ex mode. Open the editor with the vi command to begin in the command mode. In this mode, the editor can be given commands that it will follow such as write (:w), quit (:q), quit without saving (:q!), replace (:R), or find (:/<text_to_find>). Most important of all are the commands help (:h) and help about a particular subject (:h subject).

To enter the edit mode, you can press the ?i? key to begin inserting text or the a key to append text. Type in the text desired. The up, down, left and right arrows will work as expected. Exit the edit mode by pressing [Esc], and you are ready to type a command for vito respond to.

Vi's ex mode (extended mode) is beyond the scope of this book. For more information on vi, visit the vim website at

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