Search for text in vi or vim

Posted November 10, 2003 by Rex in UNIX

vi and vim have powerful searching capabilities because they bring to bear the richness of regular expressions.

To search for the next occurence of the text ‘maybe’ from the current cursor position, type:


Search backward from the current position by using ? instead of / in the command.

Once you have searched for something, you can find the next occurrence by pressing n or the previous occurrence with N.

Searching in vi/vim is enhanced with regular expressions. For example, to find the next occurence of the text ‘Total’ that occurs at the beginning of a line, use:


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