Changing vi Environment Settings
The vi editor has many environment settings. These can be used to customize your editing sessions to meet your particular needs and habits. One of the more popular options, especially to novice vi users, is the showmode option. When set, it displays a small message on the bottom of your screen to remind you when you are in insert mode. This eliminates a lot of the confusion and hesitation experienced by neophyte vi users.
The following example demonstrates the effect of using the showmode option within the vi editor:
$ vi junk stuff in the junk file. ~ ~ (...) :set showmode
Because showmode is set, after entering insert mode, the screen looks like this:
stuff in the junk file. ~ ~ (...) -- INSERT --
When in ...