how to delete a line in vi

Mastering the Technique: How to Delete a Line in Vi Easily

Are you struggling to delete unwanted lines while working in Vi? Deleting lines can be a tedious task, but mastering this simple technique can save you time and hassle in the long run. In this guide, I will show you how to delete lines in Vi with ease.

Key Takeaways

  • Vi is a popular text editor used in Unix-based systems
  • Understanding Vi’s basic navigation commands is essential for deleting specific lines
  • The command to delete the current line in Vi is straightforward and can save time
  • Deleting a specific line using its line number can be helpful for removing unwanted content
  • Practice these techniques to become a pro at deleting lines in Vi

Understanding Vi and Its Functionality

Vi, a popular text editor used in Unix-based systems, has been a favorite among developers for decades. In its simplest form, Vi is a command-line interface that allows users to edit plain text files. It is an incredibly powerful tool that can handle large files with ease, making it ideal for developers working on complex projects.

One of the main advantages of Vi is its functionality. It offers a wide range of commands that can be used to navigate through a file, search for specific text strings, and perform various editing tasks. To make the most of Vi, it’s essential to understand its functionality and how to use it efficiently.

Getting Started with Vi

To start using Vi, you need to open a terminal window and type the command “vi” followed by the name of the file you want to edit. Vi will open the file in a new buffer, allowing you to make edits.

Vi operates in two modes: command mode and insert mode. Command mode is the default mode that allows you to navigate through the file and perform various editing tasks. Insert mode, on the other hand, allows you to insert new text into the file.

Switching between command mode and insert mode is essential when using Vi. To enter insert mode, press the “i” key on your keyboard. To switch back to command mode, press the “esc” key.

Navigating Vi

When you first open a file in Vi, you will be in command mode. From here, you can navigate through the file using various commands. Here are some basic navigation commands:

Command Description
h Move the cursor one character to the left
j Move the cursor one line down
k Move the cursor one line up
l Move the cursor one character to the right

Using these commands, you can move the cursor to any position in the file. Once you have positioned the cursor where you want to make edits, you can switch to insert mode and start typing.

Understanding Vi’s functionality and basic navigation commands is essential for editing text efficiently. In the next sections, we will dive into specific commands that allow you to delete lines in Vi.

Navigating the Vi Editor

Before we dive into deleting lines, let’s first familiarize ourselves with Vi and its basic navigation commands. In Vi, we use the arrow keys to move the cursor up, down, left, or right. Alternatively, we can use the h, j, k, and l keys to navigate, respectively.

To select text, we can use the visual mode. Press the Esc key to go back to the command mode and then press the v key. Move the cursor to select the text you want to delete, and then press the d key to remove the selected text.

If you want to delete a line entirely, there are two options. The first is to use the command dd, which deletes the entire line where the cursor is positioned. The second is to use the : command to move to the desired line number and then use dd to delete the line. For example, typing :5d will delete the fifth line in the file.

Moving efficiently within the Vi editor takes practice, but mastering basic navigation commands will make editing a breeze.

Deleting the Current Line in Vi

When editing a file in Vi, you may find that you want to quickly delete the line you’re currently working on. Fortunately, Vi makes this an easy task.

To delete the current line, first ensure that the cursor is positioned on the line to be deleted. Next, enter the following command:


This will delete the line and move the cursor to the beginning of the next line. If you accidentally deleted the wrong line, you can use the undo command (:u) to restore it.

Deleting the current line is a useful command that can save you time and effort when editing your files in Vi.

Deleting a Specific Line in Vi

Deleting a specific line in Vi is a handy command when you need to remove a line based on its line number. To delete a specific line, use the following command:


Replace line_number with the actual number of the line you want to delete. For example, to delete line 5, use the command:


If the line number is unknown, you can use the navigation commands we covered in Section 3 to find it. Once you’ve located the line you want to delete, use the :d command to remove it.

It’s worth noting that using this command will delete only the specified line. Any text below the deleted line will move up by one line to fill the empty space. If you want to delete multiple lines, you can use the range operator instead of specifying a single line number. For example, to delete lines 5 through 10, use the command:


This will delete all lines between 5 and 10, including line 5 and line 10.

Deleting specific lines in Vi can save you a significant amount of time and effort compared to manually deleting individual lines. With this command in your arsenal, you can quickly and easily remove any undesired content from your file.


In conclusion, I hope this guide has helped you master the technique of deleting lines in Vi. With a better understanding of Vi’s functionality and navigation commands, you can confidently remove unwanted lines in your text files. The ability to delete the current line or a specific line by its line number will significantly improve your productivity and streamline your editing workflow.

Remember to practice these techniques regularly to become proficient in using Vi for text editing. With time, you’ll find that you can delete lines in Vi much faster than before, making your editing tasks more efficient and effortless.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to reach out to me.


Q: How do I delete a line in Vi?

A: To delete a line in Vi, first, place your cursor on the line you want to delete. Then, press the ‘dd’ key combination. The line will be immediately removed from your file.

Q: Can I delete multiple lines at once in Vi?

A: Yes, you can delete multiple lines at once in Vi. To do this, position your cursor on the first line you want to delete. Next, type the number of lines you want to remove followed by ‘dd’. For example, typing ‘3dd’ will delete the current line and the two lines below it.

Q: Is there a way to delete the line I am currently editing in Vi?

A: Absolutely! To delete the line you are currently editing in Vi, simply press the ‘cc’ key combination. This command will remove the entire line and put you in insert mode, allowing you to type a new line immediately.

Q: Can I delete a line based on its line number in Vi?

A: Yes, you can delete a line based on its line number in Vi. Place your cursor on any line in your file and type ‘:d’, replacing ” with the specific line you want to delete. Press enter, and the line will be removed.

Q: What happens to the deleted lines in Vi?

A: When you delete lines in Vi, they are not permanently deleted. Instead, they are put into a buffer called the ‘undo’ buffer. You can use the ‘u’ key to undo the deletion and bring back the deleted lines if needed.