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10.2 Important Command-Line Arguments

elvis is not typically installed as vi , though it can be. If invoked as ex , it operates as a line editor and allows the Q command from vi mode to switch into ex mode.

elvis has a number of command-line options. The most useful are described here:


Load each file named on the command line into a separate window.


Perform recovery after a crash.


Start editing each file in read-only mode.


Start editing in input mode instead of in command mode. This may be easier for novice users.


Set the safer option for the whole session, not just execution of .exrc files. This adds a certain amount of security, but should not necessarily be trusted blindly. In elvis 2.1, this option is renamed -S , and (following the POSIX standard) -s provides ex scripting.

-f filename

Use filename for the session file instead of the default name. Session files are discussed below.

-G gui

Use the given interface. The default is the termcap interface. Other choices include x11 , win32 , curses , open , and quit . Not all the interfaces may be compiled into your version of elvis .

-c command

Execute command upon start-up. This is the POSIX version of the historical + command syntax. (The old syntax is also accepted.)

-t tag

Start editing at the specified tag .


Output more verbose status information. Useful for diagnosing problems with initialization files.


Print a summary of the possible options.

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