vi : replacing text globally (search and replace)

If you want to replace a text throughout a file in the vi text editor, you can use the following command :

Here is the breaking down of this command:

  • :” : places you in “ex mode”
  • 1,$ is a range specification, meaning from the first to the last line (this can be shortened as % in some versions of VI (vim does, for instance) — Thanks Brandon !
  • s means “substitute”
  • /text/replacement/ means to replace the “text” pattern by “replacement”
  • g : means globally, which will replace all the occurrences of the pattern instead of the first of each lines

If you want to see how to script a text replacement, check out my previous post about text replacement with sed.

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