3.1 Ex Command Reference

In this section we briefly explain all the Ex commands supported by VIP. Most Ex commands expect address as their argument, and they use default addresses if they are not explicitly given. In the following, such default addresses will be shown in parentheses.

Most command names can and preferably be given in abbreviated forms. In the following, optional parts of command names will be enclosed in brackets. For example, ‘co[py]’ will mean that copy command can be give as ‘co’ or ‘cop’ or ‘copy’.

If command is empty, point will move to the beginning of the line specified by the address. If address is also empty, point will move to the beginning of the current line.

Some commands accept flags which are one of p, l and #. If flags are given, the text affected by the commands will be displayed on a temporary window, and you will be asked to hit return to continue. In this way, you can see the text affected by the commands before the commands will be executed. If you hit C-g instead of RET then the commands will be aborted. Note that the meaning of flags is different in VIP from that in Vi/Ex.

(.,.) co[py] addr flags
(.,.) t addr flags

Place a copy of specified lines after addr. If addr is 0, it will be placed before the first line.

(.,.) d[elete] register count flags

Delete specified lines. Text will be saved in a named register if a lower-case letter is given, and appended to a register if a capital letter is given.

e[dit] ! +addr file
e[x] ! +addr file
vi[sual] ! +addr file

Edit a new file file in the current window. The command will abort if current buffer is modified, which you can override by giving !. If +addr is given, addr becomes the current line.


Give information about the current file.

(1,$) g[lobal] ! /pat/ cmds
(1,$) v /pat/ cmds

Among specified lines first mark each line which matches the regular expression pat, and then execute cmds on each marked line. If ! is given, cmds will be executed on each line not matching pat. v is same as g!.

(.,.+1) j[oin] ! count flags

Join specified lines into a line. Without !, a space character will be inserted at each junction.

(.) k ch
(.) mar[k] ch

Mark specified line by a lower-case character ch. Then the addressing form 'ch will refer to this line. No white space is required between k and ch. A white space is necessary between mark and ch, however.

map ch rhs

Define a macro for vi mode. After this command, the character ch will be expanded to rhs in vi mode.

(.,.) m[ove] addr

Move specified lines after addr.

(.) pu[t] register

Put back previously deleted or yanked text. If register is given, the text saved in the register will be put back; otherwise, last deleted or yanked text will be put back.

q[uit] !

Quit from Emacs. If modified buffers with associated files exist, you will be asked whether you wish to save each of them. At this point, you may choose not to quit, by hitting C-g. If ! is given, exit from Emacs without saving modified buffers.

(.) r[ead] file

Read in the content of the file file after the specified line.

(.) r[ead] ! command

Read in the output of the shell command command after the specified line.


Set a variable’s value. See Customizing Constants, for the list of variables you can set.


Run a subshell in a window.

(.,.) s[ubstitute] /pat/repl/ options count flags
(.,.) & options count flags

On each specified line, the first occurrence of string matching regular expression pat is replaced by replacement pattern repl. Option characters are g and c. If global option character g appears as part of options, all occurrences are substituted. If confirm option character c appears, you will be asked to give confirmation before each substitution. If /pat/repl/ is missing, the last substitution is repeated.


Suspend Emacs.

ta[g] tag

Find first definition of tag. If no tag is given, previously given tag is used and next alternate definition is find. By default, the file TAGS in the current directory becomes the selected tags table. You can select another tags table by set command. See Customizing Constants, for details.


Undo the last change.

unm[ap] ch

The macro expansion associated with ch is removed.


Tell the version number of VIP.

(1,$) w[rite] ! file

Write out specified lines into file file. If no file is given, text will be written to the file associated to the current buffer. Unless ! is given, if file is different from the file associated to the current buffer and if the file file exists, the command will not be executed. Unlike Ex, file becomes the file associated to the current buffer.

(1,$) w[rite]>> file

Write out specified lines at the end of file file. file becomes the file associated to the current buffer.

(1,$) wq ! file

Same as write and then quit. If ! is given, same as write ! then quit.

(.,.) y[ank] register count

Save specified lines into register register. If no register is specified, text will be saved in an anonymous register.

addr ! command

Execute shell command command. The output will be shown in a new window. If addr is given, specified lines will be used as standard input to command.

($) =

Print the line number of the addressed line.

(.,.) > count flags

Shift specified lines to the right. The variable vip-shift-width (default value is 8) determines the amount of shift.

(.,.) < count flags

Shift specified lines to the left. The variable vip-shift-width (default value is 8) determines the amount of shift.

(.,.) ~ options count flags

Repeat the previous substitute command using previous search pattern as pat for matching.

The following Ex commands are available in Vi, but not implemented in VIP.

abbreviate, list, next, print, preserve, recover, rewind, source,
unabbreviate, xit, z