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

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Syntax of ex Commands

To enter an ex command from vi, type:

    :[address] command [options]

An initial : indicates an ex command. As you type the command, it is echoed on the status line. Enter the command by pressing Return. address is the line number or range of lines that are the object of command. options and addresses are described in the following sections. ex commands are described in "Syntax of ex commands."

Options

!

Indicates a variant command form, overriding the normal behavior.

count

The number of times the command is to be repeated. Unlike vi commands, the count comes after the command, not before it. Numbers preceding an ex command are considered to be part of the address. For example, 3d deletes line 3, while d3 deletes three lines beginning with the current line.

file

The name of a file that is affected by the command. % stands for current file; # stands for previous file.

Addresses

If no address is given, the current line is the object of the command. If the address specifies a range of lines, the format is:

    x,y

where x and y are the first and last addressed lines (x must precede y in the buffer). x and y may be line numbers or symbols. Using ; instead of , sets the current line to x before interpreting y.

Address Symbols

Symbol

Meaning

1,$

All lines in the file

%

All lines; same as 1,$

x,y

Lines x through y

x;y

Lines x through y, with current line reset to x

0

Top of file

.

Current line

n

Absolute line number n

$

Last line

x-n

n lines before ...

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