Editing files

Defining abbreviations

To define a short abbreviation that, when typed, is replaced by a longer word or phrase, use the ab command. For example, to define eC as an abbreviation for European Community, enter the command:

:ab eC European Community

From now on, whenever you type the letters ``eC'' while inserting text, vi will expand them into the phrase ``European Community''. vi waits until you finish inserting text or type <Space> or <Tab> before making the expansion.

Note that the name of the abbreviation cannot contain any space.

It is a bad idea to use a single letter as an abbreviation for a word; every time that letter is typed, it will be replaced. It is also a bad idea to use common two-letter combinations like ``ch'' or ``ee'' or ``th''.

You can prevent an abbreviation from being expanded by escaping the first character following it. For example, the word ``eC'' will not be replaced by ``European Community'' when you type it, if you follow it immediately with a <Ctrl>V (which escapes the next character). (You can insert any control character by pressing <Ctrl>V followed by the control character itself. You can also embed a <Enter> character inside a command line in this way.)

To remove an abbreviation, use the unab command. For example, to clear the ``eC'' abbreviation, go to command mode and type:

:unab eC

If you subsequently type the letters ``eC'' they will not be expanded. To examine the currently defined abbreviations, type :ab with no arguments.

Next topic: Storing a command in a buffer
Previous topic: Sending text through a filter

© 2003 Caldera International, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.7 -- 11 February 2003