Vim Tips Wiki

Command line tricks

1,624pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share
Tip 234 Printable Monobook Previous Next

created 2002 · complexity basic · author David Rayner (zzapper) · version 6.0

These tips save me wearing out my fingers with unnecessary keystrokes. They assume Unix, but I also use them on a Windows Unix Shell (MKS).

#When I know the file I want to edit is the most recent file in a directory
alias -x vew='vi `l\s -t * | head -1 `'

#When I know the file I want to edit contains a unique keyword.
#This is actually in a little shell script call ed vg where the
#keyword is passed as parameter $1

#name vg
vi.exe $(grep -isl $1 *) &

#some variations
alias -x vp='vi `l\s -t *.@(pl|cgi)| head -1 `'

#execute the most recent script (I call this from within VIM with a mapped button)
alias -x xew='`l\s -t *.pl | head -1 `'


I forgot my best script v.ksh this allows me to edit a file(s) containing any particular substring such say I know that a file in a directory is the only one that contains the letter z I just need to type

> v z
#description : vi all files containing $1 in name
#but excluding binaries
#set -x
for x in *$1*
  if [[ "$x" != *.@(xls|exe|mdb) ]] && [ -f "$x" ]
    let filenum=filenum+1
vim ${filelst[*]} &

If your shell (e.g. csh) allows you alias parameters this can also be done with something like:

alias v 'vi *\!*\*'

And as a bash function:

function v () {
   vim *${1}*

You can now edit a file in a directory that is say the only one with a filename containing say "bank" just by typing

> v bank

Also don't forget the wonderful fact that Vim will edit a pipe

> ls -1 fred*.c | vim -

will result in Vim opening an unnamed file containing a list of files fred* r

That 'vew' thing is very cool. I _always_ want to do that, very useful. I had to have it like this under cygwin.

alias vnew='vim `ls -t | head -1 `'
alias vold='vim `ls -t | tail -1 `'

vold is cool when you want to edit each file in a directory but don't want to deal with buffers inside vim.

Open a file with vi(m) and jump to a particular place defined by "searchstr"

vi -c "/searchstr" main.c

Turn this into a script

#vi with search
vi -c "/$1" $2

How many times you decided to use one file as a basis for a new file, started editing the original, and then absently minded saved it, rather than saving as!

This shell script simplifies and avoids this problem.

#description : copy file $1 to $2 then edit $2
#set -x
cp $1 $2
vi $2

View gvim command line help by typing gvim -h


gvim -u local_vimrc
gvim --noplugin
gvim -v (Vi compatible)
gvim + fred.php (jump to End of file)
gvim +10 fred.php (jump to 10th line)
gvim -w hist.txt fred.php (append all typed commands to hist.txt)
gvim -c "/searchstr" main.c (jump to string when main.c opened)(note quotes)
gvim -R important.txt (open read only)

To summarise

#the following is an alias to edit the most recent file in a directory
> vew

#the following script v.ksh, edits any file in current directory whose
#name contains say "main"
>v main

#the following script vg.ksh (see below), edits any file containing the
#specified keyword and jumps to 1st occurrence
>vg fn_main

gvim.exe -c "/$1" $(grep -isl "$1" *)

#gvim can edit a pipe
ls -1 *.php | gvim -

#Ftping via Vim

#Open file1 & file2 into a split window
gvim -o file1 file2

#compare differences in 2 files (vimdiff)
#see :h vimdiff
gvim -d file1 file1

#performing edits on multiple files (pipe separates commands)
vim -c "argdo %s/ABC/DEF/g | w" *.txt

vim -c "argdo %s/FOO/BAR/g | update" `grep -l FOO *`

Proper editing of the contents of a pipe on Unix is possible even with console Vim by using a temporary file and redirection of IO to the tty, an example of which is script#2769.

find | pipe.vim | nl
find | xargs pipe.vim

# for end of pipe/less with syntax highlighting, vi - is better:
cat /etc/samba/smb.conf | vi -

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.