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Debian Reference
Chapter 11 - Editors

11.1 Popular editors

Linux offers many alternatives for console text editors. Among them:

Use update-alternatives --config editor to change the default editor. Also, many programs use environment variables EDITOR or VISUAL to decide which editor to use. See Editor in MC, Section 4.2.5.

Also a few X-based text editors are noteworthy:

These xclient commands take standard options such as -fn a24, which makes life easy for older folks like me :) See X clients, Section 9.4.4.

11.2 Rescue editors

There are a few editors which reside in /bin/. One of these should be installed to ease editing files when /usr/ is not accessible.

11.3 Emacs and Vim

11.3.1 Vim hints

Read the "VIM - main help file" document by pressing <F1> while running the program.

     <F1>           Help
     <esc>          Back to normal mode
     V              Visual mode
     i              Insert mode
     :              Command-line commands
     :set tw=72     Set text width to 72
     <F11>          Insert (paste) mode
     :r! date -R    Insert RFC-822 date
     qa             Record keystrokes into register a
     q              Stop keystroke recording
     @a             Execute keystrokes from register a
     :edit foo.txt  Edit another file by loading foo.txt
     :wnext         Write current file and edit next file

q and @ can be used for simple macro recording and playback. For instance, to create a macro that inserts HTML italics tags around the word at the cursor, you could enter qii<i>^[ea</i>^[q (where ^[ is the ESC key). Then typing @i at the start of a word would add the tags <i> and </i>.

See also Using GnuPG with Vim, Section 14.4.2.

11.3.2 Emacs hints

     <F1>                Help
     <F10>               Menu
     C-u M-! date -R     Insert RFC-822 date

11.3.3 Starting the editor

     start editor:                   emacs filename  vim filename
     start in vi compatible:                         vim -C
     start in vi non-compatible:                     vim -N
     start with compile default:     emacs -q        vim -N -u NONE

11.3.4 Editor command summary (Emacs, Vim)

     exit:                           C-x C-c         :qa /:wq /:xa /:q!
     Get back/command mode:          C-g             <esc>
     Backward(left):                 C-b             h
     Forward(right):                 C-f             l
     Next(down):                     C-n             j
     Previous(up):                   C-p             k
     stArt of line(^):               C-a             0
     End of line($):                 C-e             $
     mUltiple commands:              C-u nnn cmd     nnn cmd
     Multiple commands:              M-digitkey cmd
     save File:                      C-x C-s         :w file
     beginning of buffer:            M-<             1G
     end of buffer:                  M->             G
     scroll forward 1 screen:        C-v             ^F
     scroll forward 1/2 screen:                      ^D
     scroll forward 1 line:                          ^E
     scroll backward 1 screen:       M-v             ^B
     scroll backward 1/2 screen:                     ^U
     scroll backward 1 line:                         ^Y
     scroll the other window:        M-C-v
     delete under cursor:            C-d             x
     delete from cursor to eol:      C-k             D
     iSearch forward:                C-s
     isearch Reverse:                C-r
     Search forward:                 C-s enter       /
     search Reverse:                 C-r enter       ?
     isearch regexp:                 M-C-s
     isearch backward regexp:        M-C-r
     search regexp:                  M-C-s enter     /
     search backward regexp:         M-C-r enter     ?
     Help:                           C-h C-h         :help
     Help Apropos:                   C-h a
     Help key Bindings:              C-h b           :help [key]
     Help Info:                      C-h i
     Help Major mode:                C-h m
     Help tutorial:                  C-h t           :help howto
     Undo:                           C-_             u
     Redo:                           C-f             ^R
     Mark cursor position:           C-@             m{a-zA-Z}
     eXchange Mark and position:     C-x C-x
     goto mark in current file:                      '{a-z}
     goto mark in any file:                          '{A-Z}
     copy region:                    M-w             {visual}y
     kill region:                    C-w             {visual}d
     Yank and keep buffer:           C-y             
     Yank from kill buffer:          M-y             p
     convert region to Upper:        C-x C-u         {visual}U
     convert region to Lower:        C-x C-l         {visual}u
     Insert special char:            C-q octalnum/keystroke  
                                                     ^V decimal/keystroke
     replace:                        M-x replace-string      :%s/aaa/bbb/g
     replace regexp:                 M-x replace-regexp      :%s/aaa/bbb/g
     query replace:                  M-%                     :%s/aaa/bbb/gc
     query replace:                  M-x query-replace
     query replace regexp:           M-x query-replace-regexp
     Open file:                      C-x C-f         :r file
     Save file:                      C-x C-s         :w
     Save all buffers:               C-x s           :wa
     Save as:                        C-x C-w file    :w file
     Prompt for buffer:              C-x b
     List buffers:                   C-x C-b         :buffers
     Toggle read-only:               C-x C-q         :set ro
     Prompt and kill buffer:         C-x k
     Split vertical:                 C-x 2           :split
     Split horizontal:               C-x 3           :vsplit (ver. 6)
     Move to other window:           C-x o           ^Wp
     Delete this window:             C-x 0           :q
     Delete other window(s):         C-x 1           ^Wo
     run shell in bg:                M-x compile
     kill shell run in bg:           M-x kill-compilation
     run make:                                       :make Makefile
     check error message:            C-x`            :echo errmsg
     run shell and record:           M-x shell       :!script -a tmp
     ...clean BS, ...                                :!col -b <tmp >record
     ...save/recall shell record:    C-x C-w record  :r record
     run shell:                      M-! sh          :sh
     run command:                    M-! cmd         :!cmd
     run command and insert:         C-u M-! cmd     :r!cmd
     run filter:                     M-| file        {visual}:w file
     run filter and insert:          C-u M-| filter  {visual}:!filter
     show option                                     :se[t] {option}?
     reset option to default                         :se[t] {option}&
     reset boolean option                            :se[t] no{option}
     toggle boolean option                           :se[t] inv{option}
     wrap text at column 72                          :se tw=72
     do not wrap                                     :se tw=0
     autoindent                                      :se ai
     expand tab                                      :se et
     specify comment (mail)                          :se comments=n:>,n:\|
     run GDB                         M-x gdb                        
     describe GDB mode               C-h m                          
     step one line                   M-s
     next line                       M-n
     step one instruction (stepi)    M-i                            
     finish current stack frame      C-c C-f                        
     continue                        M-c                            
     up arg frames                   M-u                            
     down arg frames                 M-d                            
     copy number from point, insert at the end 
                                     C-x &                          
     set break point                 C-x SPC

11.3.5 Vim configuration

In order to use all Vim features and syntax highlighting, include the following lines in ~/.vimrc or /etc/vimrc:

     set nocompatible
     set nopaste
     set pastetoggle=<f11>
     syn on

Paste mode enables one to avoid autoindent interfering with cut-and-paste operations on a console terminal. It does more than just a simple ":set noai".

See Using GnuPG with Vim, Section 14.4.2 for GnuPG integration.

11.3.6 Ctags

apt-get install exuberant-ctags and run ctags on the source files. Type :tag function_name in Vim to jump to the line where function_name starts. The tags work for C, C++, Java, Python, and many other languages.

Emacs has the same ctags capabilities.

11.3.7 Convert a syntax-highlighted screen to HTML source

so \$VIMRUNTIME/syntax/2html.vim from Vim command mode will convert highlighted text to HTML text. Save with :w file.html and :q. Useful for C code, etc.

11.3.8 Split screen with vim

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 file.fr.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

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Debian Reference

CVS, Mon Jun 16 21:20:26 UTC 2008

Osamu Aoki osamu#at#debian.org
Authors, Section A.1