vi basic cheat sheet
Working with files
Vim command Action
:e filename Open a new file. You can use the Tab key for automatic file name completion, just like at the shell command prompt.
:w filename Save changes to a file. If you don't specify a file name, Vim saves as the file name you were editing. For saving the file under a different name, specify the file name.
:q Quit Vim. If you have unsaved changes, Vim refuses to exit.
:q! Exit Vim without saving changes.
:wq Write the file and exit.
:x Almost the same as :wq, write the file and exit if you've made changes to the file. If you haven't made any changes to the file, Vim exits without writing the file.
Moving around in the file
These Vim commands and keys work both in command mode and visual mode.
Vim command Action
k or ↑ Move the cursor up one line.
j or ← Down one line.
h or ↓ Left one character.
l or → Right one character.
e To the end of a word.
E To the end of a whitespace-delimited word.
b To the beginning of a word.
B To the beginning of a whitespace-delimited word.
0 To the beginning of a line.
^ To the first non-whitespace character of a line.
$ To the end of a line.
H To the first line of the screen.
M To the middle line of the screen.
L To the the last line of the screen.
:n Jump to line number n. For example, to jump to line 42, you'd type :42
Inserting and overwriting text
Vim command Action
i Insert before cursor.
I Insert to the start of the current line.
a Append after cursor.
A Append to the end of the current line.
o Open a new line below and insert.
O Open a new line above and insert.
C Change the rest of the current line.
r Overwrite one character. After overwriting the single character, go back to command mode.
R Enter insert mode but replace characters rather than inserting.
ESC Exit insert/overwrite mode and go back to command mode.
Deleting text
Vim command Action
x Delete characters under the cursor.
X Delete characters before the cursor.
dd or :d Delete the current line.
Entering visual mode
Vim command Action
v Start highlighting characters. Use the normal movement keys and commands to select text for highlighting.
V Start highlighting lines.
ESC Exit visual mode and return to command mode.
Editing blocks of text
Note: the Vim commands marked with (V) work in visual mode, when you've selected some text. The other commands work in the command mode, when you haven't selected any text.
Vim command Action
~ Change the case of characters. This works both in visual and command mode. In visual mode, change the case of highlighted characters. In command mode, change the case of the character uder cursor.
> (V) Shift right (indent).
< (V) Shift left (de-indent).
c (V) Change the highlighted text.
y (V) Yank the highlighted text. In Windows terms, "copy the selected text to clipboard."
d (V) Delete the highlighted text. In Windows terms, "cut the selected text to clipboard."
yy or :y or Y Yank the current line. You don't need to highlight it first.
dd or :d Delete the current line. Again, you don't need to highlight it first.
p Put the text you yanked or deleted. In Windows terms, "paste the contents of the clipboard". Put characters after the cursor. Put lines below the current line.
P Put characters before the cursor. Put lines above the current line.
Undo and redo
Vim command Action
u Undo the last action.
U Undo all the latest changes that were made to the current line.
Ctrl + r Redo.
Search
Vim command Action
/pattern Search the file for pattern.
n Scan for next search match in the same direction.
N Scan for next search match but opposite direction.
Replace
Vim command Action
:rs/foo/bar/a Substitute foo with bar. r determines the range and a determines the arguments.
The range (r) can be
nothing Work on current line only.
number Work on the line whose number you give.
% The whole file.
Arguments (a) can be
g Replace all occurrences in the line. Without this, Vim replaces only the first occurrences in each line.
i Ignore case for the search pattern.
I Don't ignore case.
c Confirm each substitution. You can type y to substitute this match, n to skip this match, a to substitute this and all the remaining matches ("Yes to all"), and q to quit substitution.
Examples
:452s/foo/bar/ Replace the first occurrence of the word foo with bar on line number 452.
:s/foo/bar/g Replace every occurrence of the word foo with bar on current line.
:%s/foo/bar/g Replace every occurrence of the word foo with bar in the whole file.
:%s/foo/bar/gi The same as above, but ignore the case of the pattern you want to substitute. This replaces foo, FOO, Foo, and so on.
:%s/foo/bar/gc Confirm every substitution.
:%s/foo/bar/c For each line on the file, replace the first occurrence of foo with bar and confirm every substitution.

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Quitting
:x Exit, saving changes
:q Exit as long as there have been no changes
ZZ Exit and save changes if any have been made
:q! Exit and ignore any changes
Inserting Text
i Insert before cursor
I Insert before line
a Append after cursor
A Append after line
o Open a new line after current line
O Open a new line before current line
r Replace one character
R Replace many characters
Motion
h Move left
j Move down
k Move up
l Move right
w Move to next word
W Move to next blank delimited word
b Move to the beginning of the word
B Move to the beginning of blank delimted word
e Move to the end of the word
E Move to the end of Blank delimited word
( Move a sentence back
) Move a sentence forward
{ Move a paragraph back
} Move a paragraph forward
0 Move to the begining of the line
$ Move to the end of the line
1G Move to the first line of the file
G Move to the last line of the file
nG Move to nth line of the file
:n Move to nth line of the file
fc Move forward to c
Fc Move back to c
H Move to top of screen
M Move to middle of screen
L Move to botton of screen
% Move to associated ( ), { }, [ ]
Deleting Text
Almost all deletion commands are performed by typing d followed by a motion. For example, dw deletes a word. A few other deletes are:
x Delete character to the right of cursor
X Delete character to the left of cursor
D Delete to the end of the line
dd Delete current line
:d Delete current line
Yanking Text
Like deletion, almost all yank commands are performed by typing y followed by a motion. For example, y$ yanks to the end of the line. Two other yank commands are:
yy Yank the current line
:y Yank the current line
Changing text
The change command is a deletion command that leaves the editor in insert mode. It is performed by typing c followed by a motion. For wxample cw changes a word. A few other change commands are:
C Change to the end of the line
cc Change the whole line
Putting text
p Put after the position or after the line
P Put before the poition or before the line
Buffers
Named buffers may be specified before any deletion, change, yank or put command. The general prefix has the form "c where c is any lowercase character. for example, "adw deletes a word into buffer a. It may thereafter be put back into text with an appropriate "ap.
Markers
Named markers may be set on any line in a file. Any lower case letter may be a marker name. Markers may also be used as limits for ranges.
mc Set marker c on this line
‘c Go to beginning of marker c line.
’c Go to first non-blank character of marker c line.
Search for strings
/string Search forward for string
?string Search back for string
n Search for next instance of string
N Search for previous instance of string
Replace
The search and replace function is accomplished with the :s command. It is commonly used in combination with ranges or the :g command (below).
:s/pattern/string/flags Replace pattern with string according to flags.
g Flag - Replace all occurences of pattern
c Flag - Confirm replaces.
& Repeat last :s command
Regular Expressions
. (dot) Any single character except newline
* zero or more occurances of any character
[…] Any single character specified in the set
[^…] Any single character not specified in the set
^ Anchor - beginning of the line
$ Anchor - end of line
\< Anchor - begining of word
\> Anchor - end of word
\(…\) Grouping - usually used to group conditions
\n Contents of nth grouping
[…] - Set Examples
[A-Z] The SET from Capital A to Capital Z
[a-z] The SET from lowercase a to lowercase z
[0-9] The SET from 0 to 9 (All numerals)
[./=+] The SET containing . (dot), / (slash), =, and +
[-A-F] The SET from Capital A to Capital F and the dash (dashes must be specified first)
[0-9 A-Z] The SET containing all capital letters and digits and a space
[A-Z][a-zA-Z] In the first position, the SET from Capital A to Capital Z
In the second character position, the SET containing all letters
Regular Expression Examples
/Hello/ Matches if the line contains the value Hello
/^TEST$/ Matches if the line contains TEST by itself
/^[a-zA-Z]/ Matches if the line starts with any letter
/^[a-z].*/ Matches if the first character of the line is a-z and there is at least one more of any character following it
/2134$/ Matches if line ends with 2134
/\(21|35\)/ Matches is the line contains 21 or 35
Note the use of ( ) with the pipe symbol to specify the 'or' condition
/[0-9]*/ Matches if there are zero or more numbers in the line
/^[^#]/ Matches if the first character is not a # in the line
Notes:
1. Regular expressions are case sensitive
2. Regular expressions are to be used where pattern is specified
Counts
Nearly every command may be preceded by a number that specifies how many times it is to be performed. For example, 5dw will delete 5 words and 3fe will move the cursor forward to the 3rd occurence of the letter e. Even insertions may be repeated conveniently with thismethod, say to insert the same line 100 times.
Ranges
Ranges may precede most "colon" commands and cause them to be executed on a line or lines. For example :3,7d would delete lines 3-7. Ranges are commonly combined with the :s command to perform a replacement on several lines, as with :.,$s/pattern/string/g to make a replacement from the current line to the end of the file.
:n,m Range - Lines n-m
:. Range - Current line
:$ Range - Last line
:'c Range - Marker c
:% Range - All lines in file
:g/pattern/ Range - All lines that contain pattern
Files
:w file Write to file
:r file Read file in after line
:n Go to next file
:p Go to previos file
:e file Edit file
!!program Replace line with output from program
Other
~ Toggle upp and lower case
J Join lines
. Repeat last text-changing command
u Undo last change
U Undo all changes to line