[OpenBSD]

Manual Page Search Parameters

VI(1) General Commands Manual VI(1)

NAME

ex, vi, viewtext editors

SYNOPSIS

ex [-FRrSsv] [-c cmd] [-t tag] [-w size] [file ...]

vi  [-eFRrS] [-c cmd] [-t tag] [-w size] [file ...]

view [-eFrS] [-c cmd] [-t tag] [-w size] [file ...]

DESCRIPTION

ex is a line-oriented text editor; vi is a screen-oriented text editor. ex and vi are different interfaces to the same program, and it is possible to switch back and forth during an edit session. view is the equivalent of using the -R (read-only) option of vi.
This manual page is the one provided with the nex/nvi versions of the ex/vi text editors. nex/nvi are intended as bug-for-bug compatible replacements for the original Fourth Berkeley Software Distribution (4BSD) ex and vi programs. For the rest of this manual page, nex/nvi is used only when it's necessary to distinguish it from the historic implementations of ex/vi.
This manual page is intended for users already familiar with ex/vi. Anyone else should almost certainly read a good tutorial on the editor before this manual page. If you're in an unfamiliar environment, and you absolutely have to get work done immediately, read the section after the options description, entitled FAST STARTUP. It's probably enough to get you going.
The following options are available:
 
 
-c cmd
Execute cmd on the first file loaded. Particularly useful for initial positioning in the file, although cmd is not limited to positioning commands. This is the POSIX 1003.2 interface for the historic “+cmd” syntax. nex/nvi supports both the old and new syntax.
 
 
-e
Start editing in ex mode, as if the command name were ex.
 
 
-F
Don't copy the entire file when first starting to edit. (The default is to make a copy in case someone else modifies the file during your edit session.)
 
 
-R
Start editing in read-only mode, as if the command name was view, or the readonly option was set.
 
 
-r
Recover the specified files or, if no files are specified, list the files that could be recovered. If no recoverable files by the specified name exist, the file is edited as if the -r option had not been specified.
 
 
-S
Run with the secure edit option set, disallowing all access to external programs.
 
 
-s
Enter batch mode; applicable only to ex edit sessions. Batch mode is useful when running ex scripts. Prompts, informative messages and other user oriented messages are turned off, and no startup files or environment variables are read. This is the POSIX 1003.2 interface for the historic “-” argument. nex/nvi supports both the old and new syntax.
 
 
-t tag
Start editing at the specified tag (see ctags(1)).
 
 
-v
Start editing in vi mode, as if the command name was vi.
 
 
-w size
Set the initial window size to the specified number of lines.
Command input for ex/vi is read from the standard input. In the vi interface, it is an error if standard input is not a terminal. In the ex interface, if standard input is not a terminal, ex will read commands from it regardless; however, the session will be a batch mode session, exactly as if the -s option had been specified.

FAST STARTUP

This section will tell you the minimum amount that you need to do simple editing tasks using vi. If you've never used any screen editor before, you're likely to have problems even with this simple introduction. In that case you should find someone that already knows vi and have them walk you through this section.
vi is a screen editor. This means that it takes up almost the entire screen, displaying part of the file on each screen line, except for the last line of the screen. The last line of the screen is used for you to give commands to vi, and for vi to give information to you.
The other fact that you need to understand is that vi is a modeful editor, i.e. you are either entering text or you are executing commands, and you have to be in the right mode to do one or the other. You will be in command mode when you first start editing a file. There are commands that switch you into input mode. There is only one key that takes you out of input mode, and that is the ⟨escape⟩ key.
Key names are written using angle brackets, e.g. ⟨escape⟩ means the “escape” key, usually labeled “Esc” on your terminal's keyboard. If you're ever confused as to which mode you're in, keep entering the ⟨escape⟩ key until vi beeps at you. Generally, vi will beep at you if you try and do something that's not allowed. It will also display error messages.
To start editing a file, enter the following command:
$ vi file
The command you should enter as soon as you start editing is:
:set verbose showmode
This will make the editor give you verbose error messages and display the current mode at the bottom of the screen.
The commands to move around the file are:
 
 
h
Move the cursor left one character.
 
 
j
Move the cursor down one line.
 
 
k
Move the cursor up one line.
 
 
l
Move the cursor right one character.
 
 
cursor-arrows
The cursor arrow keys should work, too.
 
 
/text
Search for the string “text” in the file, and move the cursor to its first character.
The commands to enter new text are:
 
 
a
Append new text, after the cursor.
 
 
i
Insert new text, before the cursor.
 
 
O
Open a new line above the line the cursor is on, and start entering text.
 
 
o
Open a new line below the line the cursor is on, and start entering text.
 
 
escape
Once you've entered input mode using one of the a, i, O or o commands, use ⟨escape⟩ to quit entering text and return to command mode.
The commands to copy text are:
 
 
p
Append the copied line after the line the cursor is on.
 
 
yy
Copy the line the cursor is on.
The commands to delete text are:
 
 
dd
Delete the line the cursor is on.
 
 
x
Delete the character the cursor is on.
The commands to write the file are:
 
 
:w
Write the file back to the file with the name that you originally used as an argument on the vi command line.
 
 
:w file_name
Write the file back to the file with the name file_name.
The commands to quit editing and exit the editor are:
 
 
:q
Quit editing and leave vi (if you've modified the file, but not saved your changes, vi will refuse to quit).
 
 
:q!
Quit, discarding any modifications that you may have made.
One final caution: Unusual characters can take up more than one column on the screen, and long lines can take up more than a single screen line. The above commands work on “physical” characters and lines, i.e. they affect the entire line no matter how many screen lines it takes up and the entire character no matter how many screen columns it takes up.

REGULAR EXPRESSIONS

ex/vi supports regular expressions (REs), as documented in re_format(7), for line addresses, as the first part of the ex substitute, global and v commands, and in search patterns. Basic regular expressions (BREs) are enabled by default; extended regular expressions (EREs) are used if the extended option is enabled. The use of regular expressions can be largely disabled using the magic option.
The following strings have special meanings in the ex/vi version of regular expressions:

BUFFERS

A buffer is an area where commands can save changed or deleted text for later use. vi buffers are named with a single character preceded by a double quote, for example "⟨c⟩; ex buffers are the same, but without the double quote. nex/nvi permits the use of any character without another meaning in the position where a buffer name is expected.
All buffers are either in line mode or character mode. Inserting a buffer in line mode into the text creates new lines for each of the lines it contains, while a buffer in character mode creates new lines for any lines other than the first and last lines it contains. The first and last lines are inserted at the current cursor position, becoming part of the current line. If there is more than one line in the buffer, the current line itself will be split. All ex commands which store text into buffers do so in line mode. The behaviour of vi commands depend on their associated motion command:
The ex command display buffers displays the current mode for each buffer.
Buffers named ‘a’ through ‘z’ may be referred to using their uppercase equivalent, in which case new content will be appended to the buffer, instead of replacing it.
Buffers named ‘1’ through ‘9’ are special. A region of text modified using the c (change) or d (delete) commands is placed into the numeric buffer ‘1’ if no other buffer is specified and if it meets one of the following conditions:
Before this copy is done, the previous contents of buffer ‘1’ are moved into buffer ‘2’, ‘2’ into buffer ‘3’, and so on. The contents of buffer ‘9’ are discarded. Note that this rotation occurs regardless of the user specifying another buffer. In vi, text may be explicitly stored into the numeric buffers. In this case, the buffer rotation occurs before the replacement of the buffer's contents. The numeric buffers are only available in vi mode.

VI COMMANDS

The following section describes the commands available in the command mode of the vi editor. The following words have a special meaning in the commands description:
bigword
A set of non-whitespace characters.
buffer
Temporary area where commands may place text. If not specified, the default buffer is used. See also BUFFERS, above.
count
A positive number used to specify the desired number of iterations of a command. It defaults to 1 if not specified.
motion
A cursor movement command which indicates the other end of the affected region of text, the first being the current cursor position. Repeating the command character makes it affect the whole current line.
word
A sequence of letters, digits or underscores.
buffer and count, if both present, may be specified in any order. motion and count, if both present, are effectively multiplied together and considered part of the motion.
control-A
Search forward for the word starting at the cursor position.
[count] ⟨control-B
Page backwards count screens. Two lines of overlap are maintained, if possible.
[count] ⟨control-D
Scroll forward count lines. If count is not given, scroll forward the number of lines specified by the last ⟨control-D⟩ or ⟨control-U⟩ command. If this is the first ⟨control-D⟩ command, scroll half the number of lines in the current screen.
[count] ⟨control-E
Scroll forward count lines, leaving the current line and column as is, if possible.
[count] ⟨control-F
Page forward count screens. Two lines of overlap are maintained, if possible.
control-G
Display the following file information: the file name (as given to vi); whether the file has been modified since it was last written; if the file is readonly; the current line number; the total number of lines in the file; and the current line number as a percentage of the total lines in the file.
[count] ⟨control-H
 
[count] h
Move the cursor back count characters in the current line.
[count] ⟨control-J
 
[count] ⟨control-N
 
[count] j
Move the cursor down count lines without changing the current column.
control-L
 
control-R
Repaint the screen.
[count] ⟨control-M
 
[count] +
Move the cursor down count lines to the first non-blank character of that line.
[count] ⟨control-P
 
[count] k
Move the cursor up count lines, without changing the current column.
control-T
Return to the most recent tag context.
[count] ⟨control-U
Scroll backwards count lines. If count is not given, scroll backwards the number of lines specified by the last ⟨control-D⟩ or ⟨control-U⟩ command. If this is the first ⟨control-U⟩ command, scroll half the number of lines in the current screen.
control-W
Switch to the next lower screen in the window, or to the first screen if there are no lower screens in the window.
[count] ⟨control-Y
Scroll backwards count lines, leaving the current line and column as is, if possible.
control-Z
Suspend the current editor session.
escape
Execute the ex command being entered, or cancel it if it is only partial.
control-]
Push a tag reference onto the tag stack.
control-^
Switch to the most recently edited file.
[count] ⟨space
 
[count] l
Move the cursor forward count characters without changing the current line.
[count] ! motion shell-argument(s)carriage-return
Replace the lines spanned by count and motion with the output (standard output and standard error) of the program named by the shell option, called with a -c flag followed by the shell-argument(s) (bundled into a single argument). Within shell-argument(s), the ‘%’, ‘#’ and ‘!’ characters are expanded to the current file name, the previous current file name, and the command text of the previous ! or :! commands, respectively. The special meaning of ‘%’, ‘#’ and ‘!’ can be overridden by escaping them with a backslash.
[count] # #|+|-
Increment (trailing ‘#’ or ‘+’) or decrement (trailing ‘-’) the number under the cursor by count, starting at the cursor position or at the first non-blank character following it. Numbers with a leading ‘0x’ or ‘0X’ are interpreted as hexadecimal numbers. Numbers with a leading ‘0’ are interpreted as octal numbers unless they contain a non-octal digit. Other numbers may be prefixed with a ‘+’ or ‘-’ sign.
[count] $
Move the cursor to the end of a line. If count is specified, additionally move the cursor down count - 1 lines.
%
Move to the parenthesis, square bracket or curly brace matching the one found at the cursor position or the closest to the right of it.
&
Repeat the previous substitution command on the current line.
'character
 
`character
Return to the cursor position marked by the character character, or, if character is ‘'’ or ‘`’, to the position of the cursor before the last of the following commands: ⟨control-A⟩, ⟨control-T⟩, ⟨control-]⟩, %, ', `, (, ), /, ?, G, H, L, [[, ]], {, }. The first form returns to the first non-blank character of the line marked by character. The second form returns to the line and column marked by character.
[count] (
 
[count] )
Move count sentences backward or forward, respectively. A sentence is an area of text that begins with the first nonblank character following the previous sentence, paragraph, or section boundary and continues until the next period, exclamation mark, or question mark character, followed by any number of closing parentheses, brackets, double or single quote characters, followed by either an end-of-line or two whitespace characters. Groups of empty lines (or lines containing only whitespace characters) are treated as a single sentence.
[count] ,
Reverse find character (i.e. the last F, f, T or t command) count times.
[count] -
Move to the first non-blank character of the previous line, count times.
[count] .
Repeat the last vi command that modified text. count replaces both the count argument of the repeated command and that of the associated motion. If the . command repeats the u command, the change log is rolled forward or backward, depending on the action of the u command.
/REcarriage-return
 
/RE/ [offset] [z] ⟨carriage-return
 
?REcarriage-return
 
?RE? [offset] [z] ⟨carriage-return
 
N
 
n
Search forward (‘/’) or backward (‘?’) for a regular expression. n and N repeat the last search in the same or opposite directions, respectively. If RE is empty, the last search regular expression is used. If offset is specified, the cursor is placed offset lines before or after the matched regular expression. If either n or N commands are used as motion components for the ! command, there will be no prompt for the text of the command and the previous ! will be executed. Multiple search patterns may be grouped together by delimiting them with semicolons and zero or more whitespace characters. These patterns are evaluated from left to right with the final cursor position determined by the last search pattern. A z command may be appended to the closed search expressions to reposition the result line.
0
Move to the first character in the current line.
:
Execute an ex command.
[count] ;
Repeat the last character find (i.e. the last F, f, T or t command) count times.
[count] < motion
 
[count] > motion
Shift count lines left or right, respectively, by an amount of shiftwidth.
@ buffer
Execute a named buffer as vi commands. The buffer may include ex commands too, but they must be expressed as a : command. If buffer is ‘@’ or ‘*’, then the last buffer executed shall be used.
[count] A
Enter input mode, appending the text after the end of the line. If a count argument is given, the characters input are repeated count - 1 times after input mode is exited.
[count] B
Move backwards count bigwords.
[buffer] C
Change text from the current position to the end-of-line. If buffer is specified, “yank” the deleted text into buffer.
[buffer] D
Delete text from the current position to the end-of-line. If buffer is specified, “yank” the deleted text into buffer.
[count] E
Move forward count end-of-bigwords.
[count] Fcharacter
Search count times backward through the current line for character.
[count] G
Move to line count, or the last line of the file if count is not specified.
[count] H
Move to the screen line count - 1 lines below the top of the screen.
[count] I
Enter input mode, inserting the text at the beginning of the line. If a count argument is given, the characters input are repeated count - 1 more times.
[count] J
Join count lines with the current line. The spacing between two joined lines is set to two whitespace characters if the former ends with a question mark, a period or an exclamation mark. It is set to one whitespace character otherwise.
[count] L
Move to the screen line count - 1 lines above the bottom of the screen.
M
Move to the screen line in the middle of the screen.
[count] O
Enter input mode, appending text in a new line above the current line. If a count argument is given, the characters input are repeated count - 1 more times.
[buffer] P
Insert text from buffer before the current column if buffer is character-oriented or before the current line if it is line-oriented.
Q
Exit vi (or visual) mode and switch to ex mode.
[count] R
Enter input mode, replacing the characters in the current line. If a count argument is given, the characters input are repeated count - 1 more times upon exit from insert mode.
[buffer] [count] S
Substitute count lines. If buffer is specified, “yank” the deleted text into buffer.
[count] Tcharacter
Search backwards, count times, through the current line for the character after the specified character.
U
Restore the current line to its state before the cursor last moved to it.
[count] W
Move forward count bigwords.
[buffer] [count] X
Delete count characters before the cursor, on the current line. If buffer is specified, “yank” the deleted text into buffer.
[buffer] [count] Y
Copy (or “yank”) count lines into buffer.
ZZ
Write the file and exit vi if there are no more files to edit. Entering two “quit” commands in a row ignores any remaining file to edit.
[count] [[
Back up count section boundaries.
[count] ]]
Move forward count section boundaries.
^
Move to the first non-blank character on the current line.
[count] _
Move down count - 1 lines, to the first non-blank character.
[count] a
Enter input mode, appending the text after the cursor. If a count argument is given, the characters input are repeated count -1 more times.
[count] b
Move backwards count words.
[buffer] [count] c motion
Change the region of text described by count and motion. If buffer is specified, “yank” the changed text into buffer.
[buffer] [count] d motion
Delete the region of text described by count and motion. If buffer is specified, “yank” the deleted text into buffer.
[count] e
Move forward count end-of-words.
[count] fcharacter
Search forward, count times, through the rest of the current line for ⟨character⟩.
[count] i
Enter input mode, inserting the text before the cursor. If a count argument is given, the characters input are repeated count -1 more times.
mcharacter
Save the current context (line and column) as ⟨character⟩.
[count] o
Enter input mode, appending text in a new line under the current line. If a count argument is given, the characters input are repeated count - 1 more times.
[buffer] p
Append text from buffer. Text is appended after the current column if buffer is character oriented, or the after current line otherwise.
[count] rcharacter
Replace count characters by character.
[buffer] [count] s
Substitute count characters in the current line starting with the current character. If buffer is specified, “yank” the substituted text into buffer.
[count] tcharacter
Search forward, count times, through the current line for the character immediately before ⟨character⟩.
u
Undo the last change made to the file. If repeated, the u command alternates between these two states. The . command, when used immediately after u, causes the change log to be rolled forward or backward, depending on the action of the u command.
[count] w
Move forward count words.
[buffer] [count] x
Delete count characters at the current cursor position, but no more than there are till the end of the line.
[buffer] [count] y motion
Copy (or “yank”) a text region specified by count and motion into a buffer.
[count1] z [count2] type
Redraw, optionally repositioning and resizing the screen. If count2 is specified, limit the screen size to count2 lines. The following type characters may be used:
 
 
+
If count1 is specified, place the line count1 at the top of the screen. Otherwise, display the screen after the current screen.
 
 
carriage-return
Place the line count1 at the top of the screen.
 
 
.
Place the line count1 in the center of the screen.
 
 
-
Place the line count1 at the bottom of the screen.
 
 
^
If count1 is given, display the screen before the screen before count1 (i.e. 2 screens before). Otherwise, display the screen before the current screen.
[count] {
Move backward count paragraphs.
[column] |
Move to a specific column position on the current line. If column is omitted, move to the start of the current line.
[count] }
Move forward count paragraphs.
[count] ~ motion
If the tildeop option is not set, reverse the case of the next count character(s) and no motion can be specified. Otherwise motion is mandatory and ~ reverses the case of the characters in a text region specified by the count and motion.
interrupt
Interrupt the current operation. The ⟨interrupt⟩ character is usually ⟨control-C⟩.

VI TEXT INPUT COMMANDS

The following section describes the commands available in the text input mode of the vi editor.
nul
Replay the previous input.
control-D
Erase to the previous shiftwidth column boundary.
^control-D
Erase all of the autoindent characters, and reset the autoindent level.
0control-D
Erase all of the autoindent characters.
control-T
Insert sufficient ⟨tab⟩ and ⟨space⟩ characters to move forward to the next shiftwidth column boundary.
erase
 
control-H
Erase the last character.
literal next
Escape the next character from any special meaning. The ⟨literal next⟩ character is usually ⟨control-V⟩.
escape
Resolve all text input into the file, and return to command mode.
line erase
Erase the current line.
control-W
 
word erase
Erase the last word. The definition of word is dependent on the altwerase and ttywerase options.
control-X⟩[0-9A-Fa-f]+
Insert a character with the specified hexadecimal value into the text.
interrupt
Interrupt text input mode, returning to command mode. The ⟨interrupt⟩ character is usually ⟨control-C⟩.

EX COMMANDS

The following section describes the commands available in the ex editor. In each entry below, the tag line is a usage synopsis for the command.
end-of-file
Scroll the screen.
! argument(s)
 
[range] ! argument(s)
Execute a shell command, or filter lines through a shell command.
"
A comment.
[range] nu[mber] [count] [flags]
 
[range] # [count] [flags]
Display the selected lines, each preceded with its line number.
@ buffer
 
* buffer
Execute a buffer.
[range] <[< ...] [count] [flags]
Shift lines left.
[line] = [flags]
Display the line number of line. If line is not specified, display the line number of the last line in the file.
[range] >[> ...] [count] [flags]
Shift lines right.
ab[breviate] lhs rhs
vi only. Add lhs as an abbreviation for rhs to the abbreviation list.
[line] a[ppend][!]
The input text is appended after the specified line.
ar[gs]
Display the argument list.
bg
vi only. Background the current screen.
[range] c[hange][!] [count]
The input text replaces the specified range.
chd[ir][!] [directory]
 
cd[!] [directory]
Change the current working directory.
[range] co[py] line [flags]
 
[range] t line [flags]
Copy the specified lines after the destination line.
[range] d[elete] [buffer] [count] [flags]
Delete the lines from the file.
di[splay] b[uffers] | s[creens] | t[ags]
Display buffers, screens or tags.
[Ee][dit][!] [+cmd] [file]
 
[Ee]x[!] [+cmd] [file]
Edit a different file.
exu[sage] [command]
Display usage for an ex command.
f[ile] [file]
Display and optionally change the file name.
[Ff]g [name]
vi mode only. Foreground the specified screen.
[range] g[lobal] /pattern/ [commands]
 
[range] v /pattern/ [commands]
Apply commands to lines matching (‘global’) or not matching (‘v’) a pattern.
he[lp]
Display a help message.
[line] i[nsert][!]
The input text is inserted before the specified line.
[range] j[oin][!] [count] [flags]
Join lines of text together.
[range] l[ist] [count] [flags]
Display the lines unambiguously.
map[!] [lhs rhs]
Define or display maps (for vi only).
[line] ma[rk] ⟨character
 
[line] kcharacter
Mark the line with the mark ⟨character⟩.
[range] m[ove] line
Move the specified lines after the target line.
mk[exrc][!] file
Write the abbreviations, editor options and maps to the specified file.
[Nn][ext][!] [file ...]
Edit the next file from the argument list.
pre[serve]
Save the file in a form that can later be recovered using the ex -r option.
[Pp]rev[ious][!]
Edit the previous file from the argument list.
[range] p[rint] [count] [flags]
Display the specified lines.
[line] pu[t] [buffer]
Append buffer contents to the current line.
q[uit][!]
End the editing session.
[line] r[ead][!] [file]
Read a file.
rec[over] file
Recover file if it was previously saved.
res[ize] [+|-]size
vi mode only. Grow or shrink the current screen.
rew[ind][!]
Rewind the argument list.
[range] s[/pattern/replace/[options][count][flags]]
 
[range] &[options][count][flags]
 
[range] ~[options][count][flags]
Substitute the regular expression pattern with replace. When invoked as &, or if /pattern/replace/ is omitted, pattern and replace from the most recent s command are used. ~ behaves like &, except the pattern used is the most recent regular expression used by any command.
The replace field may contain any of the following sequences:
 
 
‘&’
The text matched by pattern.
 
 
‘~’
The replacement part of the previous s command.
 
 
‘%’
If this is the entire replace pattern, the replacement part of the previous s command.
 
 
‘\#’
Where ‘#’ is an integer from 1 to 9, the text matched by the #'th subexpression in pattern.
 
 
‘\L’
Causes the characters up to the end of the line of the next occurrence of ‘\E’ or ‘\e’ to be converted to lowercase.
 
 
‘\l’
Causes the next character to be converted to lowercase.
 
 
‘\U’
Causes the characters up to the end of the line of the next occurrence of ‘\E’ or ‘\e’ to be converted to uppercase.
 
 
‘\u’
Causes the next character to be converted to uppercase.
The options field may contain any of the following characters:
 
 
‘c’
Prompt for confirmation before each replacement is done.
 
 
‘g’
Replace all instances of pattern in a line, not just the first.
se[t] [option[=[value]] ...]  [nooption ...] [option? ...] [all]
Display or set editor options.
sh[ell]
Run a shell program.
so[urce] file
Read and execute ex commands from a file.
su[spend][!]
 
st[op][!]
 
suspend
Suspend the edit session. The ⟨suspend⟩ character is usually ⟨control-Z⟩.
[Tt]a[g][!] tagstring
Edit the file containing the specified tag.
tagn[ext][!]
Edit the file containing the next context for the current tag.
tagp[op][!] [file | number]
Pop to the specified tag in the tags stack.
tagpr[ev][!]
Edit the file containing the previous context for the current tag.
tagt[op][!]
Pop to the least recent tag on the tags stack, clearing the stack.
una[bbreviate] lhs
vi only. Delete an abbreviation.
u[ndo]
Undo the last change made to the file.
unm[ap][!] lhs
Unmap a mapped string.
ve[rsion]
Display the version of the ex/vi editor.
[line] vi[sual] [type] [count] [flags]
ex mode only. Enter vi.
[Vi]i[sual][!] [+cmd] [file]
vi mode only. Edit a new file.
viu[sage] [command]
Display usage for a vi command.
[range] w[rite][!] [>>] [file]
 
[range] w[rite] [!] [file]
 
[range] wn[!] [>>] [file]
 
[range] wq[!] [>>] [file]
Write the file.
[range] x[it][!] [file]
Exit the editor, writing the file if it has been modified.
[range] ya[nk] [buffer] [count]
Copy the specified lines to a buffer.
[line] z [type] [count] [flags]
Adjust the window.

SET OPTIONS

There are a large number of options that may be set (or unset) to change the editor's behavior. This section describes the options, their abbreviations and their default values.
In each entry below, the first part of the tag line is the full name of the option, followed by any equivalent abbreviations. The part in square brackets is the default value of the option. Most of the options are boolean, i.e. they are either on or off, and do not have an associated value.
Options apply to both ex and vi modes, unless otherwise specified.
 
 
altwerase [off]
vi only. Select an alternate word erase algorithm.
 
 
autoindent, ai [off]
Automatically indent new lines.
 
 
autoprint, ap [on]
ex only. Display the current line automatically.
 
 
autowrite, aw [off]
Write modified files automatically when changing files or suspending the editor session.
 
 
backup [""]
Back up files before they are overwritten.
 
 
beautify, bf [off]
Discard control characters.
 
 
cdpath [environment variable CDPATH, or current directory]
The directory paths used as path prefixes for the cd command.
 
 
cedit [no default]
Set the character to edit the colon command-line history.
 
 
columns, co [80]
Set the number of columns in the screen.
 
 
comment [off]
vi only. Skip leading comments in shell, C and C++ language files.
 
 
edcompatible, ed [off]
Remember the values of the ‘c’ and ‘g’ suffixes to the s, & and ~ commands, instead of initializing them as unset for each new command.
 
 
escapetime [1]
The tenths of a second ex/vi waits for a subsequent key to complete an ⟨escape⟩ key mapping.
 
 
errorbells, eb [off]
ex only. Announce error messages with a bell.
 
 
exrc, ex [off]
Read the startup files in the local directory.
 
 
extended [off]
Use extended regular expressions (EREs) rather than basic regular expressions (BREs). See re_format(7) for more information on regular expressions.
 
 
filec [⟨tab⟩]
Set the character to perform file path completion on the colon command line.
 
 
flash [off]
Flash the screen instead of beeping the keyboard on error.
 
 
hardtabs, ht [0]
Set the spacing between hardware tab settings. This option currently has no effect.
 
 
iclower [off]
Makes all regular expressions case-insensitive, as long as an upper-case letter does not appear in the search string.
 
 
ignorecase, ic [off]
Ignore case differences in regular expressions.
 
 
keytime [6]
The tenths of a second ex/vi waits for a subsequent key to complete a key mapping.
 
 
leftright [off]
vi only. Do left-right scrolling.
 
 
lines, li [24]
vi only. Set the number of lines in the screen.
 
 
lisp [off]
vi only. Modify various search commands and options to work with Lisp. This option is not yet implemented.
 
 
list [off]
Display lines in an unambiguous fashion.
 
 
lock [on]
Attempt to get an exclusive lock on any file being edited, read or written.
 
 
magic [on]
When turned off, all regular expression characters except for ‘^’ and ‘$’ are treated as ordinary characters. Preceding individual characters by ‘\’ re-enables them.
 
 
matchtime [7]
vi only. The tenths of a second ex/vi pauses on the matching character when the showmatch option is set.
 
 
mesg [on]
Permit messages from other users.
 
 
modelines, modeline [off]
Read the first and last few lines of each file for ex commands. This option will never be implemented.
 
 
noprint [""]
Characters that are never handled as printable characters.
 
 
number, nu [off]
Precede each line displayed with its current line number.
 
 
octal [off]
Display unknown characters as octal numbers, instead of the default hexadecimal.
 
 
open [on]
ex only. If this option is not set, the open and visual commands are disallowed.
 
 
optimize, opt [on]
vi only. Optimize text throughput to dumb terminals. This option is not yet implemented
 
 
paragraphs, para [IPLPPPQPP LIpplpipbp]
vi only. Define additional paragraph boundaries for the { and } commands.
 
 
path [""]
Define additional directories to search for files being edited.
 
 
print [""]
Characters that are always handled as printable characters.
 
 
prompt [on]
ex only. Display a command prompt.
 
 
readonly, ro [off]
Mark the file and session as read-only.
 
 
recdir [/tmp/vi.recover]
The directory where recovery files are stored.
 
 
redraw, re [off]
vi only. Simulate an intelligent terminal on a dumb one. This option is not yet implemented.
 
 
remap [on]
Remap keys until resolved.
 
 
report [5]
Set the number of lines about which the editor reports changes or yanks.
 
 
ruler [off]
vi only. Display a row/column ruler on the colon command line.
 
 
scroll, scr [($LINES - 1) / 2]
Set the number of lines scrolled.
 
 
searchincr [off]
Makes the / and ? commands incremental.
 
 
sections, sect [NHSHH HUnhsh]
vi only. Define additional section boundaries for the [[ and ]] commands.
 
 
secure [off]
Turns off all access to external programs.
 
 
shell, sh [environment variable SHELL, or /bin/sh]
Select the shell used by the editor.
 
 
shellmeta [~{[*?$`'"\]
Set the meta characters checked to determine if file name expansion is necessary.
 
 
shiftwidth, sw [8]
Set the autoindent and shift command indentation width.
 
 
showmatch, sm [off]
vi only. Note matching ‘{’ and ‘(’ for ‘}’ and ‘)’ characters.
 
 
showmode, smd [off]
vi only. Display the current editor mode and a “modified” flag.
 
 
sidescroll [16]
vi only. Set the amount a left-right scroll will shift.
 
 
slowopen, slow [off]
Delay display updating during text input. This option is not yet implemented.
 
 
sourceany [off]
Read startup files not owned by the current user. This option will never be implemented.
 
 
tabstop, ts [8]
This option sets tab widths for the editor display.
 
 
taglength, tl [0]
Set the number of significant characters in tag names.
 
 
tags, tag [tags]
Set the list of tags files.
 
 
term, ttytype, tty [environment variable TERM]
Set the terminal type.
 
 
terse [off]
This option has historically made editor messages less verbose. It has no effect in this implementation.
 
 
tildeop [off]
Modify the ~ command to take an associated motion.
 
 
timeout, to [on]
Time out on keys which may be mapped.
 
 
ttywerase [off]
vi only. Select an alternate erase algorithm.
 
 
verbose [off]
vi only. Display an error message for every error.
 
 
w300 [no default]
vi only. Set the window size if the baud rate is less than 1200 baud.
 
 
w1200 [no default]
vi only. Set the window size if the baud rate is equal to 1200 baud.
 
 
w9600 [no default]
vi only. Set the window size if the baud rate is greater than 1200 baud.
 
 
warn [on]
ex only. This option causes a warning message to be printed on the terminal if the file has been modified since it was last written, before a ! command.
 
 
window, w, wi [environment variable LINES - 1]
Set the window size for the screen.
 
 
windowname [off]
Change the icon/window name to the current file name even if it can't be restored on editor exit.
 
 
wraplen, wl [0]
vi only. Break lines automatically, the specified number of columns from the left-hand margin. If both the wraplen and wrapmargin edit options are set, the wrapmargin value is used.
 
 
wrapmargin, wm [0]
vi only. Break lines automatically, the specified number of columns from the right-hand margin. If both the wraplen and wrapmargin edit options are set, the wrapmargin value is used.
 
 
wrapscan, ws [on]
Set searches to wrap around the end or beginning of the file.
 
 
writeany, wa [off]
Turn off file-overwriting checks.

ENVIRONMENT

 
 
COLUMNS
The number of columns on the screen. This value overrides any system or terminal specific values. If the COLUMNS environment variable is not set when ex/vi runs, or the columns option is explicitly reset by the user, ex/vi enters the value into the environment.
 
 
EXINIT
A list of ex startup commands, read after /etc/vi.exrc unless the variable NEXINIT is also set.
 
 
HOME
The user's home directory, used as the initial directory path for the startup $HOME/.nexrc and $HOME/.exrc files. This value is also used as the default directory for the vi cd command.
 
 
LINES
The number of rows on the screen. This value overrides any system or terminal specific values. If the LINES environment variable is not set when ex/vi runs, or the lines option is explicitly reset by the user, ex/vi enters the value into the environment.
 
 
NEXINIT
A list of ex startup commands, read after /etc/vi.exrc.
 
 
SHELL
The user's shell of choice (see also the shell option).
 
 
TERM
The user's terminal type. The default is the type “unknown”. If the TERM environment variable is not set when ex/vi runs, or the term option is explicitly reset by the user, ex/vi enters the value into the environment.

ASYNCHRONOUS EVENTS

SIGALRM
vi/ex uses this signal for periodic backups of file modifications and to display “busy” messages when operations are likely to take a long time.
SIGHUP
 
SIGTERM
If the current buffer has changed since it was last written in its entirety, the editor attempts to save the modified file so it can be later recovered. See the vi/ex reference manual section Recovery for more information.
SIGINT
When an interrupt occurs, the current operation is halted and the editor returns to the command level. If interrupted during text input, the text already input is resolved into the file as if the text input had been normally terminated.
SIGWINCH
The screen is resized. See the vi/ex reference manual section Sizing the Screen for more information.

FILES

 
 
/bin/sh
The default user shell.
 
 
/etc/vi.exrc
System-wide vi startup file. It is read for ex commands first in the startup sequence. Must be owned by root or the user, and writable only by the owner.
 
 
/tmp
Temporary file directory.
 
 
/tmp/vi.recover
The default recovery file directory.
 
 
$HOME/.nexrc
First choice for user's home directory startup file, read for ex commands right after /etc/vi.exrc unless either NEXINIT or EXINIT are set. Must be owned by root or the user, and writable only by the owner.
 
 
$HOME/.exrc
Second choice for user's home directory startup file, read for ex commands under the same conditions as $HOME/.nexrc.
 
 
.nexrc
First choice for local directory startup file, read for ex commands at the end of the startup sequence if the exrc option was turned on earlier. Must be owned by the user and writable only by the owner.
 
 
.exrc
Second choice for local directory startup file, read for ex commands under the same conditions as .nexrc.

EXIT STATUS

The ex and vi utilities exit 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

SEE ALSO

ctags(1), re_format(7)

STANDARDS

nex/nvi is close to IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (“POSIX.1”). That document differs from historical ex/vi practice in several places; there are changes to be made on both sides.

HISTORY

The ex editor first appeared in 1BSD. The nex/nvi replacements for the ex/vi editor first appeared in 4.4BSD.

AUTHORS

Bill Joy wrote the original version of ex in 1977.
June 20, 2017 OpenBSD-current