[What is it?] [How is it pronounced?] [About these documents] [Download] [Other editors] [More vi]

vi (and clone) docs

(with Susan Liebeskind)

What is it?

vi is the standard, full-screen editor shipped with UNIX and similar systems since the earliest days. Some people have avoided it because it seems difficult. In truth it's no more difficult than any other command-based editor, and easier to learn than many of them. At the same time it's powerful and flexible.

These documents are also correct for the various clones of vi such as vim, elvis and stevie, several of which are shipped with Linux and other operating systems.

How is it pronounced?

It's pronounced as if it were initials: ``vee eye''.
Not ``six''.
Not ``vye''.
But ``vee eye''.

About these documents

Susan Liebeskind and I found ourselves needing to either write a new editor for a UNIX-based product, or train our trainers and consultants (all DOS and Windows people) in vi. We chose the latter; these documents grew out of that. We wrote them on our own time, since the company insisted they were unnecessary. Our test student (Christy Taylor) thrived on the documents, and made a number of suggestions, which we incorporated. As a result, the trainers and consultants came up to speed very quickly, and got along just fine with vi.


Introduction to vi v 1.6 (HTML) (text) (PostScript)
Reference Manual for vi v 1.5 (HTML) (text) (PostScript)

Other editors

The main competitor to vi is emacs, whose proponents keep trying to come up with some clever way for the letters to mean something like ``emacs isn't vi''. But it's a religious issue, so beware!

More vi

[What is it?] [How is it pronounced?] [About these documents] [Download] [Other editors] [More vi]

Last updated: 27 November 2016
Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514