1
Feb

Example of Search and Replace New Line/Special Characters in vi

Today I learned a few more things about vi while working on an HTML page like how to replace with n (newline). Basically, you need to escape special characters with a backslash “” but the < and > characters don’t need to be escaped. To give a newline, you simply hit which will give you “^M”. So, my full search and replace command looked like this:

:%s/</td>/</td>^M/g

Breaking it down… The “%” tells vi to apply the following command to the entire document. The search and replace command is s/search/replace/g where the “g” means global (replace all instances of the search term with the replacement term, not just the first instance).  In the </td> HTML tag, the forward slash must be escaped with the backslash character and the newline character ^M is created using <ctrl+v><ctrl+m>.

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