Using the vi editor

David Young
Cytoclonal Pharmaceutics Inc.

vi is an ASCII text editor. It is certainly not the easiest text editor to use ever createad. However it has a very powerful set of shortcuts for automating tasks. vi is a Unix command, so it is the only text editor that you can be assured will be on any Unix machine you ever use, including Linux.

vi is completely text based. It does make use of many aspects of screen display available through telnet, so determining whether vi works correctly is a good check on whether your terminal setting are correct. vi uses the keyboard only (no mouse). It has a command mode in which the keys typed correspond to commands for moving the cursor, cut, paste, etc. and an insert mode where the keys typed are put into the document text.

There is enough good vi information on the web, that I saw no reason to write up my own directions. Below are some useful sources on the web describing the vi editor.

Information for beginners

vi Basics
vi Editor: Tutorial
Mastering the vi editor
Online vi Help for Beginners
vi docs
The vi/ex Editor
A Beginners guide to vi and ex

More comprehensive sources

vi Helpfile
vi Reference

vi Lovers Home Page

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