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Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell by Jason McIntosh, Chuck Toporek, Chris Stone, Andy Lester

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vi Command-Line Options

Here are the three most common ways to start a vi session:

    vi file
    vi +n file
    vi +/pattern file

You can open a file for editing, optionally at line n or at the first line matching pattern. If no file is specified, vi opens with an empty buffer. The command-line options that can be used with vi are as follows (vim-only options are labeled):

+[num]

Start editing at line number num, or the last line of the file if num is omitted.

+/pattern

Start editing at the first line matching pattern. (Fails if nowrapscan is set in your .exrc startup file.)

-b

Edit the file in binary mode. (vim)

-c command

Run the given vi command upon startup. Only one -c option is permitted. ex commands can be invoked by prefixing them with a colon. An older form of this option, + command, is still supported.

--cmd command

Like -c, but execute the command before any resource files are read. (vim)

-d

Run in diff mode. Works like vimdiff. (vim)

-e

Run as ex (line editing rather than full-screen mode).

-h

Print help message, then exit.

-i file

Use the specified file instead of the default .viminfo to save or restore vim's state. (vim)

-l

Enter LISP mode for running LISP programs (not supported in all versions).

-m

Start the editor with the write option turned off so the user can't write to files. (vim)

-n

Don't use a swap file; record changes in memory only. (vim)

--noplugin

Don't load any plug-ins. (vim)

-o[n]

Start vim with n open horizontal windows. The default is to open one window for each file. ...

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