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8.5 Readline vi Mode

While the Readline library does not have a full set of vi editing functions, it does contain enough to allow simple editing of the line. The Readline vi mode behaves as specified in the POSIX standard.

In order to switch interactively between emacs and vi editing modes, use the ‘set -o emacs’ and ‘set -o vi’ commands (see The Set Builtin). The Readline default is emacs mode.

When you enter a line in vi mode, you are already placed in ‘insertion’ mode, as if you had typed an ‘i’. Pressing ESC switches you into ‘command’ mode, where you can edit the text of the line with the standard vi movement keys, move to previous history lines with ‘k’ and subsequent lines with ‘j’, and so forth.