Line numbers are useful for identifying the beginning and end of large blocks of text you want to edit. Line numbers are also useful for programmers, since compiler error messages refer to line numbers. Line numbers are also used by ex commands, which you will learn in the next chapters.
If you are going to move by line numbers, you must
have a way to identify them.
Line numbers can be displayed on
the screen using the
The command [CTRL-G] causes the following to be displayed at the bottom of your screen: the current line number, the total number of lines in the file, and what percentage of the total the present line number represents. For example, for the file practice , [CTRL-G] might display:
"practice" line 3 of 6 --50%--
[CTRL-G] is useful either for displaying the line number to use in a command or for orienting yourself if you have been distracted from your editing session.
Depending upon the implementation of vi you're using, you may see additional information, such as what column the cursor is on, and an indication as to whether or not the file has been modified but not yet written out. The exact format of the message will vary as well.
You can use line numbers to move the cursor through a file.
Typing two backquotes (
The total number of lines shown with [CTRL-G] can be used to give yourself a rough idea of how many lines to move. If you are on line 10 of a 1,000 line file:
"practice" line 10 of 1000 --1%--
and know that you want to begin editing near the end of that file, you
could give an approximation of your destination with
Movement by line number is a tool that can move you quickly from place to place through a large file.