Display line numbers in vi
If you're a regular user of vi, you know how frustrating it can be to navigate large files without line numbers. Without them, it's easy to lose track of where you are in a file and waste time scrolling up and down to find the line you need. In this article, we'll learn how to display line numbers in vi, making it much easier to work with text files of any size.
Display line numbers in the currently opened file
To display line numbers in the currently opened file, you can use either
:set number or
:set nu if you prefer a shorter command. This will display line numbers for this file until you close it. When opening it again, the line numbers won't be displayed automatically.
Display line numbers in all files permanently
To display line numbers in all files permanently, you need to edit the
.vimrc file in your home directory. In case that you don't have such a file: Open your terminal, navigate to your home directory and type
vi .vimrc. You now have an empty buffer for the
.vimrc file in your memory and opened in the editor. Let's start filling it with the content needed to display line numbers for every file. To do so, you need to go to insert mode and type
set number. Then, press
ESC to go back to command mode and save and close the file by using
:wq. If you now open a file using the
vi command, line numbers should be displayed automatically.
Additional useful commands
To turn off line numbering, you can type
:set nonumber or
:set nonu in command mode. You can also toggle line numbering on and off by typing
:set nonu! in command mode.
In this article we learned
- that we can display line numbers temporarily in the currently opened file by using
- that we can display line numbers for every opened file per default by adding
set numberto the
- that we can turn off line numbering by using
- that we can toggle line numbering on and off by using
You can check the following table to get another overview about the commands and their effects.
|Turn on line numbering for the currently opened file|
|Turn off line numbering for the currently opened file|
|Toggle between displaying and hiding line numbering for the currently opened file|
Watch it on YouTube
You can watch me explaining how to display line numbers in vi and vim in this video: