How to Save a File in Vim / Vi and Quit the Editor
3 min read
Vim is the text editor of choice for many users that spend a lot of time on the command line. Unlike other editors, Vim has several modes of operation, which can be a little intimidating for new users.
Vim or its precursor Vi comes preinstalled on macOS and almost all Linux distributions. Knowing the basics of Vim will help you when you encounter a situation where your favorite editor is not available.
This guide explains how to save a file in Vim / Vi and quit the editor.
When you launch the Vim editor, you're in normal mode. In this mode, you can use vim commands and navigate through the file.
To be able to type text you need to enter the insert mode by pressing the
i key. This mode allows you to insert and delete characters in the same way you do in a regular text editor.
To go back to the normal mode from any other mode, just press the
Open a File in Vim / Vi
To open a file using Vim type
vim followed by the name of the file you want to edit or create:
Another way to open a file is to start the editor and type
:e file_name, where
file_name is the name of the file you want to open.
Save a File in Vim / Vi
The command to save a file in Vim is
To save the file without exiting the editor, switch back to normal mode by pressing
:w and hit
There is also an update command
:up, which writes the buffer to the file only if there are unsaved changes.
To save the file under a different name, type
:w new_filename and hit
Save a File and Quit Vim / Vi
The command to save a file in Vim and quit the editor is
To save the file and exit the editor simultaneously, press
Esc to switch to normal mode, type
:wq and hit
Another command to save a file and quit Vim is
The difference between these two commands is that
:x writes the buffer to the file only if there are unsaved changes, whereas
:wq always writes the buffer to file and updates the file modification time.
Quit Vim / Vi without Saving the File
To exit the editor, without saving the changes, switch to normal mode by pressing
:q! and hit
In this guide, we have shown you how to save a file in Vim and exit the editor. If you are new to Vim, visit the Open Vim site where you can practice Vim with an interactive tutorial.
Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.