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[edit] Change default editor to VI

Here is a debian specific solution

Check to see which editors you are using

update-alternatives --list editor

Should display something like this


Change default editor to vim run the following command

update-alternatives --set editor /usr/bin/vim.basic

Choose the version of vi you wan to use in the above command I choose vim.basic

Reference: [Debian Administration Site]

[edit] Split Screen

vim can edit multiple files in a multi-split-screen environment. Type :help usr_08.txt for details.

To split the screen display between different files, type at the vi command prompt:

    :split another-file
    :vsplit another-file

Or at a shell prompt:

    $ vi -o file1.txt file2.txt   # Horizontal split
    $ vi -O file1.txt file2.txt   # Vertical split

will provide multiwindow vi.

    $ vimdiff file.txt~ file.txt         # check recent changes of file.txt
    $ vimdiff file.en.sgml  # check changes of translation
    $ gvimdiff file.txt~ file.txt        # in X

will provide a nice view of differences between an original and a backup file. In SGML it matches tags, so comparing translations in this mode works very well.

Special cursor movements with Ctrl-W commands:

    Ctrl-W +      increase the size of a window
    Ctrl-W -      decrease the size of a window
    Ctrl-W h      move to the window left
    Ctrl-W j      move to the window below
    Ctrl-W k      move to the window above
    Ctrl-W l      move to the window right

Use the following to control screen scrolling:

    :set scrollbind
    :set noscrollbind

[edit] Search and Replace

Change to normal mode with <ESC&gt.

[edit] Search (Wraped around at end of file):

 Search STRING forward :   / STRING.
 Search STRING backward:   ? STRING.

 Repeat search:   n
 Repeat search in opposite direction:  N  (SHIFT-n)

[edit] Replace: Same as with sed, Replace OLD with NEW:

First occurrence on current line:


Globally (all) on current line:


Between two lines #,#:


Every occurrence in file:


[edit] Encrypt VI

If you use the vi editor, you can use the -x option to encrypt a file. For example, to encrypt yourfile, type:

vim -x yourfile

Your will be prompted for a key, which you must remember to be able to successful edit the file in the future. To decrypt the file, you should again invoke

vim -x option

[edit] Some Default Settings

Some useful set options for your ~/.exrc file:

:set all		Display all Set options
:set autoindent	Automagically indent following lines to the indentation
 			  of previous 
:set ignorecase	Ignore case during pattern matching.
:set list		Show special characters in the file.
:set number		Display line numbers.
:set shiftwidth=n	Width for shifting operators << and >>
:set showmode	Display mode when in Insert, Append, or Replace mode.
:set wrapmargin=n	Set right margin 80-n for autowrapping lines 
(inserting newlines). 0 turns it off.

Reference: [Debian Manual]
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