Install and Use Vim Editor in Linux - Best Method ?

vim (Vi Improved) is a powerful text editor that is used for editing programs and config files written in Python, shell, C, Perl, C++, etc. It is great for the development environment.

Here at Ibmi Media, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform related Linux System queries.

In this context, we shall look into the process of installing vim, using it for editing and managing documents, and uninstalling it.

How to Install vim on Linux ?

To begin, you need to update the system package database using:

$ sudo apt update

You will be asked for your password before the packages update, enter your password to proceed.

Next, search for vim packages using:

$ sudo apt search vim

You will see a long list of available packages you don't need to install all of them. We will be installing vim, vim-tiny can be installed instead as well.

To install vim, run:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt install vim

You will be asked to confirm the installation, enter y.

You can check if vim installed by running:

$ vim --version

How to Open vim ?

To open the vim editor, run:

$ vim

You can see the vim version along with some helpful commands.

How to Create a file using vim ?

To create a new file, use:

$ vim {filename}

When you run the above command, the file opens in the vim editor.

When you try typing in anything in the editor, you won't be able to. That's because vim opens in normal mode. Vim has four modes, we will look at each.

Vim Normal mode

When you open vim it is in normal mode. You cannot enter text in this mode, you can only view the document. To enter normal mode, press Esc.

Vim Visual mode

This mode allows you to select and manipulate text. You can enter visual mode by pressing either one of the following keys:

  • v : You can select text by moving your cursor up or down, left or right.
  • V : You can select the entire line by moving up or down.
  • CTRL v : This enters visual block mode, allowing you to expand and contract the selection.

Vim Insert mode

This lets you edit text. You can enter insert mode through the following keys:

  • i : enter insert mode at the current cursor position.
  • a : enter insert mode after the current cursor position.
  • I: enter at the beginning of the current line.
  • A: enter at the end of the current line.

Vim Command mode

This mode is used for saving documents, searching, quitting the program, etc. You can enter this mode using :.

Here a couple of common commands:

  • :wq -> to save and exit the document.
  • :help -> shows you helpful tips.

How to Edit a Document using Vim ?

Now that you are familiar with the modes, let’s edit our file.

Open the file using:

$ vim {filename}

Enter insert mode by pressing i. Enter your text.

To save and exit the editor, press the escape key, followed by :wq, and then hit enter.

The following commands will help you with editing:

  • :w - Save.
  • :q - Quit.
  • y - Copy.
  • yy - Copy line.
  • p - Paste.
  • d - cut.
  • dd - Cut line.
  • :/word - Search forward for a word.
  • :?word - Search backward for a word.
  • n - Traverse through the whole document to look for the searched word.
  • x - Delete character.
  • dw - Delete word from the cursor on.
  • dd - Delete line.
  • D$ - Delete end of line.
  • L - Moves the cursor one character to the right.
  • j - Moves the cursor down by one line.
  • k - Moves the cursor up by one line.

You can also add text to your file when creating it. Use:

$ echo {your text} >> {filename}

How to Uninstall vim from Linux ?

To uninstall vim from your system, use:

$ sudo apt remove vim

You will be asked for your password before proceeding.

Next, you will need to enter y to confirm the uninstallation.

[Need assistance in installing any Software packages on Linyx System? We can help you. ]


This article covers how to install vim, followed by some basics on using vim and then uninstalling it. Vim (Vi IMproved) is a text editor that is upwards compatible to Vi. It can be used to edit all kinds of plain text. It is especially useful for editing config files and programs written in shell, python, perl, c/c++ and more. 

Among the various text editors in the world of Linux, Vim (or Vi IMproved) stands out for its versatility and for the functions it offers. In fact, Vim is able to speed up code writing, providing some shortcuts to perform all the operations of modification, deletion or replacement of the text. 

Vim Text Editor also allows you to install different plugins through which transforming this simple text editor into a real IDE for programming in different languages.

How to Install vim using apt on Linux ?

1. Open terminal application. You can also press CTRL+ALT+T keyboard shortcut.

2. Update package database by typing the sudo apt update command.

3. Search for vim packages run: sudo apt search vim.

4. Install vim on Ubuntu Linux, type: sudo apt install vim.

5. Verify vim installation by typing the vim --version command.