VIM Commands

Note: All commands are case sensitive.

Useful VIM commands

i Switch to insert mode.
Programs can only be edited when you are in Insert Mode.
ESC Switch to Command Mode
gg=G Indent all parts of the code.
 v  Start visual mode per character. To highlight certain parts of the code.
y Yank (copy) text.
yy or Y Yank (copy) one line.
{count}yy Yank (copy) {count} lines.
d Delete (cut) text.
dd Delete (cut) one line.
{count}dd Delete (cut) {count} lines.
p Put (Paste) the text after the cursor.
u Undo last change.
CTRL+R Redo last change which was undone.
{count}G Goto line {count} in the file, on the first non-blank character.
:w Write (save) the current file.
:wq Write (save) the current file and quit VIM.
:q Quit VIM.
:q! Quit VIM without writing (saving)
TAB Autocomplete file name.
Example: Accessing vim You can type “vim Te” and press TAB to complete the filename.


File commands


to CoPy files


to MoVe files from one directory to another; can also be used to rename files.


to ReMove files. Be careful with this command — files deleted cannot be restored (unless they have been backed up during the normal backup cycle).


Command to display text files


to string together or display (CATenate) the contents of files onto the screen


variant of “cat” (includes features to read each page leisurely)


Directory commands


pwd to Print current Working Directory to show you which directory you are currently in.


ls to LiSt files in your current directory

You may also use “ls -F” for more information (-F is one of the many options/flags available for the ls command. To see a complete list of the options, refer to the man pages, ie. “man ls“.)

The slash (/) beside the filename tells you that the file is a directory (folder). A normal file does not have a slash (/) beside its name when “ls -F” is used.

You may also use the “ls -l” command (hyphen el, not hyphen one) to display almost all the file information, include the size of the file and the date of modification. Try it now!


cd to Change Directory from current directory to another

To use this command, type cd <another directory>, where <another directory> has to be specified by the user.

Note that the prompt changes to ~/c to indicate that you are now in the c directory below your HOME directory.

Entering “cd” alone brings you back to your HOME directory, ie. the directory in which you started with when you first logged into the system.


mkdir to MaKe a subDIRectory in current directory


rmdir to ReMove a subDIRectory in current directory — note that a directory must be empty before it can be removed.