How to quit vi without saving your changes

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It just occurred to me that even though I know my way around vi fairly well, I never had to quit it without saving my changes. Usually I just go back in and overwrite my mistakes.

Today I did something though that wasn’t as easy to eliminate: instead of pasting an IP address, I accidentally pasted a 4000+ character stylesheet. Dang!

So how do we leave vi and NOT save our changes? Here’s how:

  • press ESC to exit editing mode (insert/append/whatever)
  • press : (the colon character)
  • enter q!

Now you’re back on the command line without any saved changes.

Remind me: how do we SAVE changes again?

There are several ways of doing this, but my personal favourite is this:

  • press ESC to exit editing mode (insert/append/whatever)
  • press SHIFT + Z twice

This will put you back on the command line and your changes are saved.

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