Ex is a line editor that serves as the foundation for the screen editor vi. Ex commands work on the current line or on a range of lines in a file. Most often, you use ex from within vi. In vi, ex commands are preceded by a colon and entered by pressing RETURN.
But you can invoke ex on its own-from the command line-just as you would invoke vi. (You could execute an ex script this way.) You can also use the vi command Q to quit the vi editor and enter ex.
This section presents the following topics:
Syntax of ex commands
Alphabetical summary of commands
For more information, see the Nutshell Handbook Learning the vi Editor.
An initial : indicates an ex command.
As you type the command, it is echoed on the status line.
Enter the command by pressing RETURN.
address is the line number or range
of lines that are the object of
addresses are described below.
Ex commands are described in the alphabetical summary.
You can exit ex in several ways:
Exit (save changes and quit).
Quit without saving changes.
Quit and enter the vi editor.
Indicates a variant command form, overriding the normal behavior.
The number of times the command is to be repeated.
Unlike in vi commands,
count cannot precede the command, because
a number preceding an ex command is treated
as a line address. For example, d3
deletes three lines beginning with the current line; 3d deletes line 3.
The name of a file that is affected by the command. % stands for current file; # stands for previous file.
y are the first and last
addressed lines (
x must precede
y in the buffer).
y may be a line number or a symbol.
Using ; instead of , sets the current line
x before interpreting
The notation 1,$ addresses all lines in the file,
as does %.
|1,$||All lines in the file.|
|%||All lines; same as 1,$.|
|0||Top of file.|
|Absolute line number |
|-[||One or |
|+[||One or |
|Line marked with |
|/||Forward to line matching |
|?||Backward to line matching |
See Section 6 for more information on using patterns.