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Previous: 30.31 vi Word Abbreviation Chapter 30
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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