Vim is a popular keyboard-only code editor originally released in 1991. It is famously difficult to learn, but many developers swear by it.

Vim is installed on pretty much every Linux- or Unix-based computer, and if you accidentally open it, it’s quite difficult to exit.

Stack Overflow just announced that they hit a new milestone: more than 1 million developers have visited Stack Overflow trying to figure out how to exit Vim.

A Vim-related tweet by I Am Devloper

If you find yourself trapped in Vim, you can usually exit by doing the following:

  1. press escape to enter “Master” mode
  2. then type : to enter “Last Line” mode
  3. then type q and hit enter.

This should exit. If it doesn’t, repeat these steps using q! instead to force-quit.

If you want to save any changes you made to the file, you can add a w to these commands (w stands for “write”): wq or wq!

If you need to change something on a Linux server, and haven’t invested dozens of hours in getting good at Vim, you can open a file with a much simpler built-in editor called Nano by typing: nano [filename]

And if you want to get better at Vim, check out Vim Adventures, a Zelda-like game controlled by using Vim commands.


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