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vi Tips and Tricks
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30.32 Using vi Abbreviations as Commands (Cut and Paste Between vi's)

The vi command ab (30.31) is for abbreviating words. But it's also good for abbreviating ex-mode commands that you type over and over. In fact, for ex-mode commands (commands that start with a colon (:)), abbreviations can be better than keymaps (31.2). That's because you can choose almost any command name; you don't have to worry about conflicts with existing vi commands.

Here's an example. If you have a windowing terminal or have more than one terminal, you might have vi sessions running in more than one place. Your system might have a way to transfer text between windows, but it can be easier to use files in /tmp (21.2)- especially for handling lots of text. Here are some abbreviations from my .exrc (4.9) file:

ab aW w! /tmp/jerry.temp.a
ab aR r /tmp/jerry.temp.a
ab bW w! /tmp/jerry.temp.b
ab bR r /tmp/jerry.temp.b

I use those abbreviations this way. To write the current and next 45 lines to temporary file a, I type this command in one vi session:

:.,+45 aW

To read those saved lines into another vi session, I use:


You can do the same thing in a single vi session by using named buffers (30.5), but temporary files are the only method that works between two separate vi sessions.

- JP

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