[Free Download] Vi Cheat Sheet For Beginners

I have often shared my Linux experience with you. Today I am going to share my Vi cheat sheet that has often saved me time in googling for a quick command.

Basic Vi commands

This is not a detailed tutorial to teach you each and every aspect of Vi editor. In fact, it’s not a tutorial at all. It’s just a collection of basic Vi commands and their brief description for a quick reference.


Save the file and quit


Quit without saving the file


Insert starting left of the cursor


Append starting right of the cursor


Exit insert/append mode


Move cursor


Search string text (case sensitive)


Search next occurrence of the searched item


Delete character under the cursor


Delete line under the cursor


Undo last change


Beginning of the file


Go to line n


End of the file


Beginning of the line


End of the line

:set list

See special characters in the file


Copy the line into the buffer


Copy 5 lines into the buffer


Paste buffer after the current line

You can download the above cheat sheet in a PDF format from the link below:

Download Vi Cheat Sheet

You can print it and keep it at your desk or just save it for offline use. And if you are interested, take this quiz and test the Vi knowledge you just learned.

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Why I created the Vi cheat sheet?

Several years ago, when I started working in Linux terminal, the idea of using a command line editor horrified me. I had used desktop Linux before but it was my personal computer so I happily used the GUI text editor like Gedit. But in the working environment, I was stuck with the command line and there was no scope of using a graphical editor.

I was forced to use Vi for basic edits in the files on remote Linux boxes and this is where I identified and started to admire the power of command line editing tool Vi.

Since, at that time, I was new at Vi editor, I found myself baffling with it. The first time, I could not even come out of the file because I did not know how to close Vi editor. No shame in accepting that I had to Google it.

So, I decided to make a list of all the basic commands that I used frequently for editing in Vi. This list or cheat sheet, as you may call it, helped me a lot in my early days with Vi. With time, I grew up with Vi and now I don’t even need to look at the Vi cheat sheet because I have the commands memorized by heart.

Why should you use Vi cheat sheet?

I can understand your situation if you are just getting started with Vi. Your favorite Ctrl+S doesn’t work for saving files. Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V were supposed to be the universal shortcut for copy and paste but it won’t work in Vi universe.Thousands of people use cheat sheets

Thousands of people use such cheat sheets for various programming languages and/or tools that give them a quick reference to commonly used steps/commands. Trust me, using cheat sheets among the best practices advised to programmers.

This Vi cheat sheet will help you a lot if you are just starting with Vi or if you infrequently use the Vi editor (so you keep forgetting the commands). You can save it and use it for quick reference in future, that too offline.

Do you like it?

So far, I have refrained myself from going into too much on terminal side. How do you find this post? Do you want me to share more such cheat sheets and downloadable items? Your suggestions are welcomed.

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  • I purchased the cheat sheets on line paid9.95 and haven’t received them yet and it has been almost month

  • I’d suggest arrows + jhkl for moving the cursor. The home row alternatives are there for a reason, such as when you’re stuck with a compact keyboard that has no arrow keys.

      • Do you have a cheat cheat or something on Linux Mint for Terminal Commands?
        Love Linux, Can’t figure the installing programs & ect.

        • Hello Ron,

          Nice suggestion. I’ll add it to my to-do list. I have a Linux terminal cheat sheet which is not specific to Mint but is meant for Linux terminal in general. I’ll update it and share it soon.