Command-Line - Vim Basics
So, you’ve probably been here:
Everyone’s first vim session. ^C^C^X^X^X^XquitqQ!qdammit[esc]qwertyuiopasdfghjkl;:xwhat
This is because vim isn’t exactly intuitive to handle.
But when you get the hang of it, it is a super handy tool to do some on-the-spot text editing.
View Mode vs. Edit Mode
The first confusion is: Why can’t I edit the text right when I enter vim?
You enter vim in View Mode.
To get to Edit Mode simply type i
Now you can edit text…
To get back to View Mode from there type [esc] or [Ctrl+C]
Now you can’t edit text…
Now do this about 20 times, because that is the most important thing to know.
So, what can I do in view mode?
In view mode, you can
- move around the document
- copy, cut and paste
- undo and redo
- search text
and lots more, but these are the basic things you need to know.
By using the cursor keys you can move one character at a time.
By pressing w you move to the beginning of the next word
By pressing b you move to the beginning of the previous word
By pressing $ you move to the end of the current line
By pressing 0 (zero) you move to the beginning of the current line
By pressing G you move to the end of the document
By pressing gg you move to the beginning of the document
By pressing 42G you move to line 42 of the document
By pressing [Ctrl+F] you move one page down
By pressing [Ctrl+B] you move one page up
Copy, cut and paste
First, press v to enter Visual Mode.
By moving the cursor as described above you select text.
To copy text to the clipboard, press y
To cut text to the clipboard, press d
After this, you can paste the clipboard text by pressing either p (insert after cursor position) or P (insert before cursor position)
Undo and redo
To undo press u
To redo press [Ctrl+R]
By typing /wordyousearchfor followed by [Enter] you jump to the first occurence of “wordyousearchfor” after the current cursor postition
Now hit n to jump to the next occurrence
Saving and quitting
To save a your changes you need to be in View Mode
Type :w to save your changes.
Type :q to quit vim
You can’t leave vim like this if you have unsaved changes.
Type :q! to leave vim and discard all changes
Type :wq to save, then leave
Type :w newfilename.txt to save as newfilename.txt
This is only the tip of the iceberg, but I found that knowing these commands is what you really need to be productive with vim (and not be frustrated by it).
And remember, repetition is the key…