Vi mode for Bash

So it turns out bash has a vi mode! (Can’t believe I didn’t know about this earlier)

To enable vi mode, just type this into your shell:

$> set -o vi

That will enable it for this shell so you can try it out, and if you like it, add that line to your ~/.bashrc file for future.

One really useful vi-mode command is pressing ’v’ from command mode. This will put your current command line into vim to modify.

To get more help on the commands available in vi-mode, take a look at the bottom of this man page:

$> man 3 readline

To get more information on the various options available for bash, take a look at:

$> help set

I’m going to give it ago in the coming weeks to see if its actually useful or not.

So far, I’ve found one small annoyance, I use ctrl+l to clear the terminal, but with the vi key bindings enabled, this only works from command mode (you have to hit ESC first). To fix this, I added this to my ~/.bashrc file:

bind -m vi-insert ‘Control-l: clear-screen’

These commands could also be added to /etc/inputrc, but I’m happy to leave these 2 lines together in my ~/.bashrc so its easier to remember.